Melting snow and warming temperatures mean conference season is here! You can find a few conferences throughout the year, but there seems to be an abundance of learning opportunities from April to September. If you’ve never attended a conference you’re missing out. There’s nothing as encouraging as spending 2-4 days with 400 people just like you. When you finally find a place you want to attend, make sure you arrive prepared. Here are a few tips to help you pack:
1. Promote Yourself: Bring extra business cards, rack cards, resumes, and any other promotional material you have to pass out.
2. Wear Layers: Regardless of the time of year or location, you never know what it will be like inside the convention center. Don’t risk sweaty arms or cold toes – wear layers. Even if you’re comfortable in one conference room, the AC may not work in the next room.
3. Do Your Research: A conference may be your only chance to meet certain professionals in your field – don’t miss the opportunity to talk to them! Go online and find out exactly who will be at the conference and why they’ll be there. They may be looking for someone just like you.
4. Worst-Case-Scenario: If you have to fly you may want to pack lightly, but prepare yourself for the worst. I once had a bronchitis relapse at a conference. I’ve also spilled food on myself. Those could have been bad situations, but I was prepared: extra clothes, vitamins, emergency Tylenol. Don’t go minimalist – be prepared.
5. Give Yourself Room: Every conference I’ve attended gave away freebies. They also had stores. I always returned with more than I had originally packed. Leave yourself a little bit of room to bring home a few extra items.
Conferences let you learn and network in one convenient location. Don’t worry about the details – be prepared and enjoy the experience!