So it is your first conference and your mind must be buzzing with lots of questions which you are looking to be answered so that you can make it an experience to be remembered and can extract the most out of the conference you are visiting. Do not worry, we have taken the opportunity of this article to answer all your questions and have provided you with 10 of the best tips for the first time conference attendees who will surely enhance your experience and make you grow.
- Selection: One of the toughest jobs before you actually visit a conference is to choose which conference to go to. Yes! All of them appear quite tempting on paper, but you have to add your own filters and process your thoughts on which one you really want to visit and which ones cover your area of interest. Check out the speakers who will be giving speeches, which companies will be visiting and also the people who will be presenting papers and designs. If the content is to your liking, go ahead and visit it.
- A Good Intro: Since you are attending the conference for the first time, your first and foremost job will be to establish yourself in it. For this you will need a heck of an intro. You will have to face a lot of questions as to who you are/ here you are from? Where do you work? What is your field of specialization? And these questions will be repeated several times by different people. So it is best to keep an intro ready which you can confidently convey once you are bombarded with these questions. Just make sure it is compact, short and sweet.
- Take it Slow: Yes! We know that there are a lot of events being held at the conference, but it is not necessary for you to attend each and every one of them. Select the ones which really attract you and give your time to it. Make sure that if you choose an event, you stick around till it is finished (unless it is really boring and makes you drowsy). Running around from one event to another will only make you panic.
- Set an Aim: When you are visiting a particular conference, you must have some objectives which you would like to fulfil. Keep those objectives in mind and plan your visit accordingly, if it helps, you can also jot them down. If you are being sent by your boss make sure to plan it out with him/her as to which sessions you are supposed to visit and what you are supposed to gain from those sessions.
- Reserve Time for Fun: It is but a popular saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Taking a conference too seriously will only make it a burden to you. It has loads of fun which you can enjoy. Take it easy and have fun. You deserve it! The fun will only instigate the learning process and help you remember what you learnt for a long period of time. Attending the extracurricular activities that have been organized will also help in building a network with significant people.
- Building Network: This should be one of the primary foci of yours as a first timer in a conference. Conferences are a great place to build a network with influential people. Conferences invite a lot of pioneers as their panellists or as keynote speakers who also socialize during the luncheons and dinners. They are also available for question answer sessions which you can benefit a lot from. Another great thing about the conference is the fact that they see many people who present awesome papers and designs which put a new perspective on the current problems faced by the world.
- Keep Pen and Paper Ready: While you are visiting a conference it is better to ditch the technology and getting back to old school techniques. Laptops or smart phones may create problems or run out of battery creating a lot of problems for you. It is better to stick to pen and paper when you are planning to take notes in a conference. Also make sure you take down the contact information of the people you would like to keep in touch with after the conference is over.
- Punctuality: This is probably one of the most obvious tips on the list. You are visiting a conference where the most interesting sessions will obviously fill up the fastest. If you do not want to miss out on your favourite event try and reach it time. If possible, try and reach it before time so that you can get desired seats in the room. If you are late, chances are you will only be stranded out of the room or get a seat towards the back and will barely be able to see your favourite speaker.
- After Conference Jobs: Once you are done with the conference, there are a lot of jobs you are left with. The first and foremost task you need to attend to after you have completed attending the conference is to note down all the things that you thought to be important and would help you in the future and organize them. Also jot down the points or things which you think will help you in a process of betterment when you are preparing for your next conference.
- Follow up e-mail: Once you have done that, send e-mails to all the people and organization with whom you are planning to be in touch with. The follow up e-mail will only help you to keep the contact alive and you can use them for future benefits.
These are some of the best tips which you can follow and which will surely benefit you while you are attending your first conference. Once you are experienced from it, you can add up to the list.