Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Extending your Knowedge: Make the Most out of Conferences

I was one of those people who LOVED university as I enjoy learning new things. It’s been a few years since I was in school but my passion for learning hasn't slowed down at all. I'm super active on social media and use twitter, linked in, and favourite blogs to stay tuned in. Online surfing is a great way to fit learning into your day to day (during your morning coffee/during a longwinded conference call) but, is it enough!?

Another option: conferences! I love attending conferences that peak my interest to see what’s current in the industry, what other companies are facing, seeing other speakers good habits and things not to do, and, of course, the networking opportunities. Conferences don’t come with small price tags so here are some of my tips to deciding if it’s the right conference for you:
-     Look at the online agenda – are the topics relevant?
-     Look up the speakers on social media sites like Twitter & LinkedIn and see if you find them interesting.
-     Tweet or reach out to your network and see if anyone has attended the conference before and see what they had to say

Okay, you decide to go, now make the most out of it!
-      Meet people - take a stack of business cards  & mingle!
-      Sit in a different seat during each session & always introduce yourself to your neighbors
-      If a speaker is interesting, go up and meet them and exchange contact information
-      Tweet relevant information throughout & see what others are saying
-     Take notes to share with your team, write a blog article, or make a to do list with your learnings

My last tip is: build you your personal brand & become an expert in your field as you may get invited to speak at conferences = free attendance and great experience. This is my latest goal  and it's working as I love public speaking & love the learning I'm getting for free!

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