The Summer Conference season is upon us. Many of us are making sacrifices to attend these great opportunities to learn and grow, some of us are looking forward to reconnecting with colleagues and friends, most of us have work requirements in addition to the educational components, and all of us need to find some balance between working and resting.
So how can we make the most of these experiences, here are three simple strategies:
1. Peruse the conference calendar before you get there. Don’t wait until you get there to gain you bearings, because you won’t do it. You will get swept up in coffees and meetings, dinners and seminars. You will not get the best experience because your decisions will be spur-of-the-moment. If you have a plan before you go, then you can just adjust to accommodate the sure-to-come spontaneous opportunity. This will also allow you to divide and conquer when there are multiple seminars that you want to attend. So find a friend, make a plan, and get ready to go!
2. Have a single place to take notes. Don’t jot down notes on every handout at every seminar because you will have a hard time finding them once you get home. Buy a folder to contain any handouts and bring a notebook (or tablet device) to collect your notes. Then once you get home and want to quote the insightful wisdom you encountered, you will know right where to look.
3. Plan to rest. Seminars and conferences, much like the rest of our life, are usually over-scheduled and fast-paced. When you are reviewing the conference schedule, note times where you could take a nap, grab a cup of coffee or explore the town. You will feel more energized for the conference if you take a break now and then. You want to return back home from these experiences renewed and inspired, not worn out and exhausted.