How to get the most out of conference

Attention conference attendees: You get out of conference what you put into it. As you plan your conference and decide which sessions and networking events to attend, keep in mind the following advice, culled from our conference experience and posted by your peers and other ILTAns below.

1. Invest time in meeting and talking to other people. Everyone is here to make connections, so don’t be shy. Yes, you could enjoy room service in front of your laptop, but take advantage of the shared meals planned throughout the week. Resist the urge to crash after a long day of educational sessions and head for the ballrooms instead. There’s an evening event planned every night except Wednesday. See more networking advice in our other posts.

2. Plan which sessions you’ll attend now, even if you change your mind later. So much to learn and so little time? ILTA offers this nifty planning tool that adds session times and locations to your Outlook calendar. Just click the “Add to Calendar” link on the bottom left corner of the session page, choose Open, then click Save on the Outlook calendar item.

Don’t worry if you can’t fill-up your schedule. Take advantage of downtime to visit with exhibitors an consultants. Our Vendor Bingo gives you an easy “in” with the folks in the exhibit hall.

3. Relax and have fun. If you go to conference too stressed out about attending certain sessions and meeting certain people, you won’t be open to the surprises that await. Remember, your law firm is sending you here to learn. You can’t learn or make new connections if you’re constantly staring down at the program guide or writing down notes from a session.

And while conference is not a vacation, it doesn’t mean you should stay plugged in to the office the whole time. Again, you’re here to learn – that’s your job! Make sure your team can reach you in an emergency and give them an idea of your schedule and when you might be available to return phone calls, but try to stay focused on the task at hand: getting the most out of conference.

4. Other tips that can make your conference more rewarding:

Don’t lug around too much during conference. Leave your laptop in the room and throw the handy conference journal, a pen, a few business cards and maybe a light sweater for those cold session rooms in a light bag. Anything else you need is on your badge holder.

Sit or stand in the back if you don’t think you’ll be staying for the entire session or demo. The flip side of this one is…

Sit up front if you’re sure you’re going to have questions or comments for the speaker. Try to make eye contact with him or her sometime during the session, and you’ll have a better chance of having them call you out. And by the same token …

Ask lots of questions. Chances are someone else in the audience has the same question, but is too shy to ask. This is your conference and you’re here to learn; don’t leave with nagging questions you’d hoped to get answers to. If the speaker can’t answer them, someone else in the audience might be able to – and now you’ve got someone to talk to after the session, for the rest of the conference and probably long after the conference is over. It’s all about connections!

Have some tips of your own? Post a comment below and share!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: