You're about to invest your valuable time and energy into attending a conference or convention. You deserve to come away with ideas to ponder, skills to use and an action plan to move you towards your goals.
Evaluation Before Leaving:
It's important to take a candid look at your level of growth and expertise. Ask your self, "Am I where I should be according to my talents and abilities", "Am I being the best I can be?" "Where can I improve?", "What do I expect to take away from this meting?"
If you're a first time attendee a conference or convention can dramatically cut your learning time and put you on the track to increased success.
If you're an old pro, conventions are a great time to rethink, reevaluate, and refurbish your career, to take a new look at your skills and techniques.
Learn and Advance:
The most important part of any conference is how much you learn and what you do with the information. The key is to adapt the information and ideas to your own unique needs. Apply it with your own creativity, knowledge and desires. Listen, learn, consider and weigh all the information. Then adapt and assimilate it into what fits for you. Then every convention and conference you attend can be a stimulating and rewarding experience.
Questions to Consider:
Here is a list of questions and statements to consider before the conference begins. They will aid you in making the most of the time, energy and money you invest to attend.
1. What are the three main reasons I am attending this convention?
2. Who would make a good convention buddy, someone to brainstorm ideas and concepts with beforehand and share what we've each learned afterwards?
3. Is there someone scheduled to be at this convention who could serve as my personal or professional role model? If so, how can I optimize my observance of this person? If not, what specific qualities do I want to look for in the attendees to identify a potential role model?
4. Does this convention offer official mentor, or protege positions? If so, would I benefit from assuming one of these roles? If not, could the group benefit from creating such a program in the future? (And am I in a position to suggest it?)
5. Who are the people I specifically want to talk with? Should I contact anyone in advance to arrange a get-together?
6. What are the questions I most want answered before I leave?
7. What did I learn at the last convention that has been most valuable to me? How can I build on this at the coming convention?
8. With whom did I share these ideas, information, and skills afterwards? How did this benefit them and me?
9. What did I learn about convention procedures that will help me make this experience even more beneficial?
Making the Most of the Event:
There are no right or wrong answers to this list of questions. Your answers fit you! You have unique skills, talents and abilities as a human being. Just be realistic and honest with yourself about what you are willing to put into the event you are about to attend. What you put in, will determine what you'll receive.
Enjoy yourself and your fellow attendees. Have fun, relax and make the most of the event.