We are just a few days away from the Get RADICAL Women’s Conference! And for those who are still leaning on the fence, your time to act is now! If you missed any of the Monday night live hangouts, be sure to check them out here and then register. But I know things happen and while some of you would’ve loved to join us live, you’re not able to. But guess what?! Now, you can grab your virtual seat here. That’s right, you can gain access to all general sessions right from the comfort of your home #nomoreexcuses.
As a third time attendee and now a breakout session speaker this year, I wanted to share a few tips for those who have never attended or just need a refresher. I still can’t believe that this will be the very last conference, but I know that bigger and greater things are in store for Doreen Rainey and I’m excited to be a part of that too. These tips can be applied to pretty much any conference that you plan to attend.
1. Come with an open mind.
Don’t focus on your expectations of what you think you’ll experience, or what you’ve heard it was about. Focus on getting the most out of the experience for you.
2. Summarize your take-aways.
I like to think I’m a professional notetaker, but I’m not as great on going back to review those notes. There will be several great take-aways or a-ha moments, and that many more notes you’ll have to sift through to get to them. Consider developing a way to immediately identify those key points/sessions (maybe with a star or highlighter) so you can refer back to them quickly.
3. Bring flats.
You can’t concentrate on all of the juicy content being shared if your feet feel like they’re sitting on top of broken glass. Stick some ballet flats in your conference bag so you can be prepared to switch it up when running short on time.
4. Bring a digital recorder.
It’s going to be impossible to write down every single thing that you hear. And nine times out of ten, you’re going to want to hear it again anyway. So keeping a digital recorder in your bag is essential. You probably also want to save the battery on your phone.
5. Bring a portable cell phone/tablet charger.
I bought one last year when I attended Blogalicious and I can’t even tell you what a life savior it was! I didn’t have to scour the ballroom to find a socket because all I had to do was reach in my purse and pull out the charger. I was then free to tweet until my heart’s content.
6. Have a follow-up plan in place.
You’re going to be meeting so many great people. And we all have great intentions of following up but then you get home and you get “busy”. Don’t let your stack of business cards start collecting dust. You never know which of your connections is the link to your next big breakthrough, so cultivate and develop those relationships.
7. Plan ahead.
Take a look at the agenda online, see what vendors/sponsors you’re interested in connecting with, and what time blocks you’ll have free to do so. Then schedule time to visit them. The breaks may be few or sometimes short (especially if you also have to fit time in to grab lunch), so planning ahead is key.
8. Pre-plan your meetups.
If you know you have contacts that are attending the conference, try planning some meetups ahead of time. Things move so quickly so it’s easy to lose track of time. Figure out where you can fit in an early morning breakfast or a dinner to connect.
9. Review the conference agenda.
Take a look at the schedule online and breakout sessions beforehand. Being clear on which ones you want to attend, will save you time once you get there.
10. Don’t plan to sleep.
Get plenty of rest before you go. It’s not often that you get to actually meet with this many like-minded and powerful individuals at one time. There are usually networking opportunities (even if you have to create your own) that you should take advantage of.
11. Be ready to take action and play full out
You should always have a plan or a reason for attending a particular conference. You’re makng an investment, and as with any investment, you should fully understand your ROI. You can’t just take notes or press record and not put what you learned into action.
12. Mix and mingle.
Don’t be afraid to split up from friends to meet new people. The connections and friends that I’ve made through this conference, and many others have been priceless.
If you’re attending this conference virtually, the only way to get the most out of it is to limit all distractions. When I attended a livestream conference last year, I was so committed to learning and taking everything in, that myself and three of my friends booked a hotel room near home where we stayed for the weekend. We were able to focus solely on the conference and not allow distractions like dishes, children running around or family stopping by to interfere with our learning and development.
So what say you? What are you most looking forward to experiencing at #GetRADICAL2014?
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