Elaborate planning goes into the logistics of getting yourself to conference; the trip, the hotel and the food. But more important is the preparation you need to do in order to get your money’s worth. It is important to take time to study the brochures finding out which topics will be covered. When you don’t plan you will get the left overs. Plenty of people sign up in advance and get the best sessions and they fill or early. By waiting until you arrive at the conference you will be behind every one else right from beginning, with a little hope of catching up.
The first thing you want to do is to download any information the association has made available, it will be a topic list. You will benefit by looking up speakers online getting to know their views in advance. When you look at websites don’t forget to look at all the links, especially the ones at the bottom at the site. They may not look especially interesting, but many informational of gems are hidden there. Make a file and print things out. Then highlight things that interests you. Write down any questions. Feel free to contact the conference well in advance for the answers you need.
Before you leave home, drive to an office supply store and purchase a business card kit. Make up lots of cards containing your name and email address. You will meet many people, if you collect cards and are diligent to write a little something about the person who gave you the card on its back, this will ignite your memory after you get home. Lasting contacts are made when you email a few days later. Networking is just as simple as that.
The main topics will be held in a large room, and there could be thousands of people in attendance. The secondary sessions will be in satellite areas meeting at different times throughout the conference. It is ultra-important to know which sessions you want to attend, as seating may be limited in the smaller sessions. Most sessions will hand out CEU’s. . Make sure you get your paperwork. There is usually a question and answer time at the end of breakout sessions, so be prepared in it advance.
When you get into any session look around and find interesting people to sit next to. Stay away from bored looking people, if you happen to find yourself next to a complainer just move to a different seat. You’ll be able to strike up a conversation easily and, score possible friends.
There will be booths with representatives, jobs, schools uniforms, and a host of other things. Each vendor is vying for your attention, but since you have already checked the website at out in advance, you already know most of the best vendors. But scope them out and zero in on the most interesting ones first. They will hand out freebies and information. Now is a time to ask vendors for their business cards and find out if they will be around when things quiet down. Remember during the crush of the crowd you may not find an opportunity for the extended talk, but you can set up a meeting for later.
When you apply yourself to the process, you will leave conference changed person. You will have coveted business contracts from other nurses and professionals. You will also have new CEU’s use for renewing your license. Your future has been expanded. Make sure mixture you maintain and follow up on the many things you learned. When you get home you can measure your successful experience against the price of a ticket, knowing you have invested in yourself. Then you will know that you have gotten your money’s worth.
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