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Often greatest benefit of attending a conference will be relationships that you start while there. These relationships can become sources of information, friendship, and job opportunities.
Thus, make it a point to meet new people. Instead of spending all of your time with friends or colleagues, go off on your own. Join other people for meals. Sit next to them during sessions. Start conversations while walking between sessions. And be sure to ask for a business card. Then you can add that personís contact information into your contact database.
I encourage you to introduce yourself to speakers. They were invited to speak at conference because of their expertise in your profession. Thus, they can become valuable resources for information, assistance, and referrals. The best time to meet speakers is right after they finish their presentation. Introduce yourself, offer a brief compliment on presentation, and ask for a business card. Of course, if you meet them again at conference, use this as an opportunity to talk further.
Apply What You Gained
When you return home, set aside an hour or so to review notes that you took while at conference. You may want to schedule this on your calendar before you leave for conference.
Review your notes, identifying main ideas. Then convert each of these ideas into an action on your list of things to do. Once you finish list add a completion date and assign a priority. Recognize that this step converts everything that you learned, collected, and gained during conference into tangible benefits for yourself and your company.
If you are an employee, I recommend writing a report for your management. Document key ideas that you gained and describe how they can be applied to your work. If youíre an independent, you may still want to write such a report for yourself because this formalizes what you gained from conference.
When you return home, write thank you notes to people who helped you at conference. This simple courtesy sets you apart as an exceptional person. I especially recommend writing notes to:
1) The leaders in association. They worked hard to organize event. 2) Members of staff who helped you. These people can help you get most out of your membership. 3) The speakers. This could start relationships with experts and celebrities in your profession. 4) New friends. This makes you memorable when you meet again at next conference.
Use a conference to immerse yourself in society and technology of your profession. And then apply what you gained to advance your career.
IAF Certified Professional Facilitator and author Steve Kaye works with leaders who want to hold effective meeting. His innovative workshops have informed and inspired people nationwide. His facilitation produces results that people will support. Call 714-528-1300 or visit his web site for over 100 pages of valuable ideas. Sign up for his free newsletter at http://www.stevekaye.com