I’m loving the book by Laura Vanderkam “I know how she does it – How successful women make the most of their time” – the title got me right away. As somewhat of an expert in maximizing time and productivity, Laura examined a number of women who earned $100k+ per year and who had at least one child under age 18 (i.e. still living at home).
One of the sections I was drawn to was the section on conferences as there was tips and advice I had not heard from before. As I know attending conferences is a necessity for professional women I wanted to share the useful advice here:
“First, to get more out of a conference go with a goal. Figure out what you hope to get out of a conference before you sign up. Maybe you want to leave with a solid lead on a new client, or meet three people you only know virtually. Knowing why you’re going keeps you focused. It also keeps you from wasting time and money on a conference you’ve outgrown.
Second, don’t rely on serendipity. Find out who will be attending that you know virtually and would like to get to know better. Invite people for a small gathering early on, like a dinner on the first night when there’s nothing formal planned. That way no matter what else happens, you make sure to meet these people you want to meet. Chances are, at least pone of them will ask to invite someone else along to your initial dinner. Say yes. This is a good sign you’ve got a thoughtful connector on your hands who’s already figuring out who else you should know. If people can’t come to your dinner make appointments for breakfast, coffee or drinks.
Third, spend more time in the halls saying hello to people, and less time attending the panels. Panels can be enlightening, but my sense is that they primarily serve as a way to expand the number of big-name people asked to attend the conference. Racing up to the stage afterward to meet these people is not a good strategy for connecting. They’ll be trying to talk to a line of people. A better approach might be to volunteer with the conference organizing team. That way you get to meet anyone you want.
Fourth, be open to new experiences. Say yes to the invitation to go clubbing. Say hello and introduce yourself to people who look intriguing. Amanda Steinberg founder of DailyWorth, a financial website for women (and a mom of two kids who play with mine), told me that.”
Hopefully these will help with making any conference visit more beneficial. Do you have any tips for attending conferences?