How to Get the Most Out of Conferences

Attending a conference can be a smorgasbord of opportunity. But make sure to plan your menu first. Otherwise, you might end up having too much salad and be full once it's time for the main course. Get-It-Done Guy explains.

Stever Robbins
Episode #347

When Faced With a Decision, Review Your Priorities

There was really no hijacking involved. It was all about decision-making. When the question came up, "To sing, or not to sing?" The only considerations were how much fun the singing would be.

What I'd be missing, in terms of my other priorities, never came to mind. Epic fail.

Once you've laid out your event priorities, when decisions come up, refer to that list. If your list says "meet at least 10 new people," then choose sessions that will help you meet new people. If your list says "sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" to sexologists," you'll choose different sessions. As a general rule, seek out experience, knowledge, and connections that you can't get at home. Otherwise, why bother going to a conference?

When attending a conference, make sure you get what you came for.

You Can Split Your Priorities

Sometimes, you want a mix. You might want to be sure you meet new people, but leave yourself some flexibility, in case something truly amazing comes up, like singing the a cappella version of the entire Star Wars soundtrack to an audience full of Ewoks.

In that case, you can make your top priority "Make 10 friends." Then your second priority can be "Sing a song." And your third priority would be "Make 5 more friends." Now you have plenty of incentive to make your first batch of friends, so you can get straight to the Ewoks.

When you're attending a conference, don't just show up and attend what looks interesting. Have a reason for being there, a reason that involves something you can't do in your daily life.

Choose your sessions accordingly and pass up things in favor of things that will accomplish your purpose. If you want to mix it up, divide your priorities and then mix and match.

But if you're going to attend a conference, make sure you get what you came for. If Melvin had gone to panels about his profession, rather than Dr. Ruth's "Toy Tips for Soon-to-be-Newlyweds," he might have made the professional contacts he wanted.

I'm Stever Robbins. I help people accelerate their careers, create a strong personal brand, and generally kick butt in their professional lives. If you want to know more, visit SteverRobbins.com.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT. 

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