Aberdeen Conference Venue
ABERDEEN CONFERENCE VENUE
Conference Advice - 5 priceless tips
I must admit that I've always been skeptical of conferences. Taking days out of the office (for a reason other than vacation) is expensive. If you're going to spend money and sacrifice a valuable chunk of time that could be spent taking action, then it had better be worthwhile.
Tip 1 Seperate the wisdom from the action
The first thing I do after every conference is review the notes and transfer every starred item into my task management tool. Some people I know use a different color for the actionable stuff. Whatever your system, recognize that conferences are liable to overwhelm you with notations. You must enter and leave with a bias-towards-action to capture the gems for post-conference execution.
Tip 2 Distill every talk down to one key takeaway
Every presenter at a conference has his or her own style. Some people tell a story, sometimes there is a video or set of images, and sometimes there is a full slide presentation. Given our short memories and the great amount of stimuli, it is important to distill each presentation down to a central point.
After each presentation, ask yourself what struck you, what did you learn? Perhaps there was a specific tip that you could adapt in your own work - or some piece of counterintuitive advice that really resonated. If you write anything down during a conference, make it the one key take-away from each presentation that is worth additional consideration upon your return to real life.
Tip 3 Defy structure to mine the circumstantial
How should you spend your time at a conference? Should you cut off a great conversation with a fellow attendee to make the next session? Should you take a breakfast meeting with a potential partner in lieu of attending the opening remarks? Don't assume that you should follow the herd and do what you're told.
The greatest benefits of a conference are circumstantial, often found in the seams of the experience. That chance conversation in the coffee line could make all the difference. A great conference is especially fertile ground for collaboration. As such, don't feel pressured by the structure. Of course, as a conference organizer, our hope is that you enjoy the full agenda. However, you must ultimately make sure the conference serves your needs as best as it can.
Tip 4 Plan private gatherings with like-minded folks
Conferences are more than just the programming, they are an assembly of like-minded folks with great intention. How often do you get uninterrupted time to discuss matters of interest with industry peers from around the world? Many frequent conference-goers claim that their greatest conference experiences happened during the "downtime."
Don't leave these benefits up to chance. Reach out to your contacts beforehand and propose grabbing an early breakfast together, lunch, or drinks during the conference. Encourage each person to invite 1-2 people that they deeply respect, thus broadening the potential of the meeting.
Tip 5 Process business cards for follow-up in real-time
Most conference conversations end with a business card exchange. And then, post-conference, you're left with tons of cards and little time to sort through them. One tip I've heard is to collect business cards into two groups - the first for those that you absolutely plan to follow up with for a specific need, and the second for those that you just want to put in your address book but don't have any next step (and if any other cards fall into the third camp of "who is this person?" - discard).
For business cards that fall into the first group, write your intended action on the card. For example, "invite to do guest post" or "introduce to Alex for demo." If you have a digital way to store contacts at conferences, use tags within the entry to distinguish those that are actionable from the others.
I don't believe that a conference should simply be a creative indulgence. Many of us have found our passions and are searching to make an impact in what matters most to us. A simple dose of stimulation isn't worth the price of admission. In your search for better focus and performance, attend your next conference with high expectations and make the effort to reach them.