Galvin and Associates

Posts Tagged "Conferences"

I made a mistake a few weeks ago and went into a conference tired and rundown. I needed a strategy to survive. On the way there, I took a blank piece of paper and wrote down some practical steps for survival so that I would maximize the benefit of the conference without returning home completely exhausted. Here are some of the tactics that worked well for me. Perhaps they will also help you.

1. Walk slowly
There’s no reason to walk fast in a crowded hotel hallway. When you walk slower, you can become more aware of your surroundings and connect with more people.

2. Ask questions and listen carefully
You can get a lot more out of a conference by listening well. Instead of telling people what you do, listen for what they need.

3. Connect with strangers
Instead of looking for all the people you already know, reach out and connect with someone new. You’re bound to have something in common with others there because you both signed up for the same conference.

4. Don’t schedule phone calls
Have you seen people leaving a session or going up to their room because they have a conference call? It’s impossible to be fully engaged at a conference if you’re on the phone.

5. Don’t attend every session
Conferences are over-programmed on purpose. Sessions are scheduled early in the morning and late at night to meet as many needs as possible. You shouldn’t feel guilty about tailoring your schedule to get the most out of the experience.

6. Go with the flow
As you take in your conference experience, live in the moment and appreciate all that is around you. Yes, you can change your mind at the last minute and attend a workshop different from the one you circled on your schedule.

7. Don’t eat bad food
Many conferences provide food during break times but the spread they layout can hardly be classified as clean-burning fuel. If you don’t eat it at home, don’t eat it at the conference.

8. Find short bursts of solitude
Being with people 16 hours a day or in sessions with loud music can be draining. Punctuate your day with 10 or 15-minute mini-retreats were you can step outside and be refreshed.

9. Get enough sleep
Try to keep your sleep pattern the same as you have at home. Usually this is not possible at conference. For you, this may mean leaving the evening meeting a bit early.

10. Schedule a recovery day
Before you leave for the conference, block out a day to catch up with e-mail, take care of other non-work tasks, and relax!

I survived the conference. You can survive your next one too and have a richer experience when you’re there. Use this list to customize your own conference survival strategy.