Benefit from training and summits by planning your attendance in advance
Attending regular conferences, professional events and training courses is not just an excuse for getting out of your daily working environment. These are important learning moments that have many benefits and add value to your professional path. And it’s not just about networking, it’s mostly a question of developing a set of skills, such as active listening, public speaking, permanent learning, and staying updated with the latest trends of your industry.
Going to professional conferences is usually costly and time-consuming, so you need to plan well ahead how to get as much as you can out of it.
Learn how to manage your time at the event and select the sessions that really matter
Professional events have different structures and formats, and attending all sessions is extremely time-consuming. Not all content is functional for your personal and professional growth, so you should better consult the event program beforehand and choose the parts you are keen to attend. According to Dorie Clark, the author of Stand Out Networking, ‘a session should fulfill either a content goal, meaning the talk will be educational, or it should fulfill an interpersonal goal, meaning you want to meet or support the person who is presenting.’ For example, according to many professionals and frequent attendees you can skip the keynote moment – Elon Musk defines it as a simple ‘conversation starter’.
Be ready to use your active listening skills and be a discussion participant
Going to professional events is great for improving your relational skills. The general suggestion is to start your preparation in advance: read some literature and learn how to listen in an active and productive way – it will help you to grasp the important information from the speakers and enhance other useful qualities – patience, curiosity, and empathy.
During the professional events that are held in interactive formats, stay active: raise your hand, ask questions, offer comments and solutions, engage with the others in vivid discussions. The best way to get new knowledge and insights at a conference is through the so-called peer-to-peer sharing and interaction.
Get in touch and cultivate your existing connections that you’ve established during the past events
If you want to get the most out of professional conferences, don’t solely focus on networking with new professionals. Instead, put your energy into cultivating and improving the quality of past connections. In most cases, you will meet several contacts from previous events. Learning how to be strategic and consistent will allow you to better manage professional relationships and build a strong reputation within the community.
Get the most out of the latest technological developments
Even if you are not a great fan of technology, you should not underestimate the importance of how technology is changing the way you work and interact. Nowadays, most of the conferences are digital-supported: a variety of conference apps are very efficient for navigating an event and finding its most interesting sessions, some of which may be actually dedicated to the tech-related topics. Always go these such conference parts: even if you are not part of tech-lovers’ community, remember that ‘roaming and exploring may help you discover trends, innovations, and a future-looking approach that just might take your learning culture up a notch’.
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