Conference Tips: Get the most of your time away

Conference season, we like sharing the knowledge and love of conferences. We have talked about this on a podcast before (episode 34), but with some awesome conferences coming up, we need to talk about it again.

  1. Get a favorite note taking method and go crazy. Whatever works for you, whatever you love to do, do it. Pen and Paper- Tom’s favorite. Bullet Journal, lots of pens, and lots of ways to get information. Digital- Mike’s go to. OneNote is awesome and shareable. Usable on your phone and device, very versatile. You can even put links to the session materials right in your digital note taking app! Sketchnoting can work with both types of note taking! great for summarizing and reviewing information! Cate Tolnai, Sylvia Duckworth, Ann Kozma, Misty Kluesner, Cynthia Nixon, and some other awesome people can help you get started! Check out SketchCUE going on Now!
  2. Really dive into the schedule. It may be big and intimidating but getting one or two sessions per time slot is best, just in case your first pick fills up. Be mindful of distances between session rooms as well. Some session locations can be far apart, make sure you account for that. Also, follow the speakers on twitter and see if they have resources online already. Have they presented on this topic before? how big is their following?
  3. Schedule some time for reflecting and downtime. This is essential, as you need to reflect on all of these ideas and process the info.
  4. Follow everyone on twitter! Biggest and best decision I ever made for my professional development was to engage with twitter. Engagement is more than having an account, it is planting seeds with good people you follow and watching them bloom. Plant a huge twitter garden, and then prune it for what you need. Make sure your feed continues to serve you.
  5. When in a session, think about the classroom application of what you are learning. Write some ideas down so you can remember them after you are done. I’ve had some brilliant ideas in sessions and forgotten to write them down and lost them when i got excited about my next session.
  6. If there is a session you really want to go to but don’t make, see if the materials are available online. Email or Direct message the speaker, so many of them will send resources or will help out! Most session I go to have people that are more than willing to go that extra mile, all you need to do is ask.
  7. Be social and have fun! I’ve made some really good professional connections, but even better friends and inspirations. Make connections and have fun, it will make your experience that much better.
  8. Power! With most conferences, it would behoove you to bring your favorite device, and your phone. Don’t forget to bring your power supplies and cords and chargers and backup power. If you engage on twitter and make new friends, you are going to be on your phone using juice. Make sure you bring the means to recharge.


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