Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tips for Professional Development Conferences

“Do any of you have tips for getting the most out of professional development conferences from your experiences?”

After attending many professional conferences over the years, I have a few tips that help me get the most from attending conferences. Here they are:

1.      I wear comfortable shoes. Sometimes the sessions are far apart from each other or sometimes it is standing room only. Either way, it helps if your feet aren’t hurting.

2.      I dress in layers. Sometimes the rooms can either be too cold or too hot and dressing in layers help you be prepared for either situation.

3.      If I really like the presentation, I ask the presenter to send me their presentation. Sometimes it helps to review it again when I get home.

4.      I record the presentation (with the presenter's permission - Thanks Laura for reminding me to add that!). Sometimes it helps to hear it again when I get home.

5.      I make connections. I meet new people who are there and exchange business cards. Sometimes I learn as much outside the sessions as I do in a session.

6.      I read the description of the sessions carefully. I choose a session I want to go to but also choose an alternate because m first choice might be full or cancelled.

7.      I take notes. I try to jot down at least 3 “take aways” that I get from each session and sometimes I come away with more. This helps me focus on the topic and look deeper into what is being shared. Sometimes I even jot down ideas that I want to look into with more depth when I get home.

8.      I look at techniques and strategies that other presenters use. I look for new ways of presenting or how things are presented. I also watch the audience’s reactions. This will help me prepare for future presentations.

9.      I don’t complain. It is annoying to hear others complain on and on about something. If you don’t like something, write it up in the convention evaluation but no one wants to constantly hear how you are not happy. I don’t want to hear that you don’t want to be there, or you don’t like any of the sessions or that you think everything is boring. I’m there to learn some new ideas and get motivated. I will stay away from negative people and I want to work hard at not being a negative person.

10.  I review and reflect about my experience when I get home. I think this is an important in order to process all that I’ve learned. If I just put everything away when I get home, then I lose a lot of what I learned. I have made a list of new ideas and strategies and plan to focus on each one for a week. Hopefully that will allow me to spend more time with each item instead of storing it away to be forgotten.

What tips would you add to the list? Please share!

Original photo by Pat Hensley

No comments: