3 Do's and 3 Don'ts for Conference Attendees

Posted by Desiree Alexander on Jun 6, 2018 7:15:00 AM

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We all love conferences. They are the perfect blend of learning, networking, and having fun! We get to learn new skills while visiting with old friends. The more conferences we go to, the more we learn how to navigate them. As someone who has gone to many conferences, I have 3 do’s and 3 don’ts that can help you navigate any conference successfully!


Do's


1. Do dress comfortably, but also presentable.

As a conference attendee, you need to dress as comfortable as possible. You will be walking A LOT! Most conferences lack comfortable floors, so you will most likely be walking and standing on concrete most of your day so comfortable shoes are essential. You will also be sitting in various types of seats very close to other people and sometimes on the floor so dress comfortably. Bring a jacket or sweater even if you are attending a conference with a warm climate. Sometimes the conference halls are freezing so be prepared.


You never know who you will meet at a conference, so you always want to present yourself as professional. Find that happy medium of being comfortable while presentable.

 

2. Do bring business cards/labels.


I know it sounds old fashion to bring paper business cards and labels with you. However,  you want to have something to hand someone with your information. Some people will simply take a picture of your business card while others will want the real thing.


The labels are for your adventures in the vendor halls. You will quickly realize that there are many different drawings for you to enter. Having a quick label to slap on the entries saves you time and ensures that if you win, they can read all of your information. Now you just have to decide what information to put on them. Whatever email and address you put on the label will surely get some new emails and mail from those companies after the conference.

 

3. Do go to sessions/parties/exhibit hall.


I know it is tempting to get some extra sleep during conferences, but this is the time to network as much as possible. Go to sessions to learn new things (especially those skills that you have been dying to learn for so long). Go to the exhibit hall to learn about new products and services that are being released and meet the vendors. Go to the parties to network with other educators and vendors. All of these are not only learning opportunities, but they are great for networking. You never know who you will meet, what new information you can learn, what swag you can get, and how these meetings can affect your future.


Don’ts

 

1. Don't be rude.


You will be tired. Others will be tired. Attitudes will sometimes flare, especially when it comes to that last seat in the session or that last free pen at the vendor table. Remember that you do not know who is watching you, who you are meeting, and who you are dealing with. And beyond that, remember who you are. We are all educators and want the best for our students. Keep that in mind even when you are tired and fed up (and it is always OK to sneak away for a little cat nap if needed).

 

2. Don't rush.


The best thing you can do for yourself at a conference is to plan the first night. Sit in your hotel room and plan out your day(s)/week(s). This will help you not rush around the conference and miss being in the moment. By planning, you will know which sessions may run out of space so you can be there early and you can plan backup sessions. You can plan for lunch and breaks and maybe a little cat nap. Planning helps you stay calm, still see everything you want to see and have fun being in the moment and enjoying your time.

 

3. Don't forget to take care of yourself.


This is a big no-no! You do not want to get sick at the conference or get sick as soon as you are home because you ran yourself into the ground. Make sure to schedule time for naps, to eat, to check in with family, to check email and voicemails...you want to make sure that you can relax and feel comfortable with your schedule while taking care of yourself. Also, don’t forget to stay hydrated as you will be doing a lot of walking and moving. Last, but not least, you need to make sure you are getting enough sleep. Sometimes conferences are busier than your normal day (and we all know how busy we are), so you need to work hard at taking care of yourself both mentally and physically.


Now that you have the do’s and don’ts, you can enjoy any conference and be ready to learn, meet people, live in the moment and have fun. Enjoy!

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