Keep calm and conference on: Mastering panic to maximize conference success
With our 2023 National Conference just around the corner and the beginning of “Conference Season,” we’ve got some proven tips and techniques to help you optimize your conference experiences, from pre-event preparation to post-event follow-ups, so you can get maximum value in little time.
Attending a conference can be a game-changer for personal and professional growth, providing an opportunity to network, gain insights, and make meaningful connections. However, the excitement of such events can also lead to feelings of PANIC. In this blog post, we’ll delve into each aspect of PANIC and how to conquer these moments of anxiety to make the most of your conference experience.
The key to a successful conference experience begins with planning. Start by researching the conference schedule and keynote speakers. Identify the sessions that align with your interests and professional goals. Prepare a personalized agenda, including backup options, to ensure you maximize your time. Set specific objectives for what you hope to achieve: gaining new skills, exploring potential partnerships, or expanding your network. And possible questions to ask. Which brings us to our next step.
Ask Questions during Q&A:
During conference sessions, don’t shy away from asking questions during the Q&A portion. It’s an opportunity to clarify doubts, seek deeper insights, or engage with speakers, industry experts, and BONUS: introduce yourself and your company to the audience. Speaking up will show your active involvement and help you stand out and connect with like-minded individuals.
Network (even when it’s hard, awkward, or you’d rather skip):
Networking can be daunting, especially for introverts or those who feel uncomfortable in social settings. However, remember that you are not alone. Many attendees are there to connect and learn from each other. Push past your comfort zone and initiate conversations with fellow attendees. Start with a simple introduction, ask about their interests or projects, and share your own experiences. The more you practice networking, the more confident you’ll become.
Implement New Insights:
Conferences offer a ton of valuable information and insights. Know your preferred way to take notes, and make sure you have fresh paper, pen, pencils, and/or devices charged for note-taking. While taking notes, identify key takeaways that resonate with your goals. After the event, create an action plan to implement these insights into your work or projects. Whether adopting new strategies, improving existing processes, or exploring innovative ideas, applying your knowledge will solidify your conference experience and lead to tangible growth.
While attending a conference may lead to numerous connections, focus on making meaningful connections rather than collecting business cards. Engage in genuine conversations, listen attentively, and show interest in others’ experiences. Follow up with new connections through personalized emails or social media interactions after the event. Cultivating these meaningful relationships can lead to future collaborations, mentorship opportunities, and a supportive network to lean on.
The PANIC strategy guides you to navigate the overwhelming world of conferences and ensures you make the most of your growth and connections. By Planning Ahead, Asking Questions, Networking, Implementing Insights, and Connecting Meaningfully, you’ll transform your conference experience into a catalyst for professional development and lasting relationships. So, the next time you feel the PANIC creeping in, take a deep breath, remind yourself of these tips, and keep calm and conference on!
If you haven’t yet, check out our ELEVATE! Together Digital National Conference on October 12th, 2023, in Cincinnati, Ohio. And experience what it’s like to ask, give, and grow in a safe space made for women, by women.