Conference Here I Come!

Attending a conference can be a wonderful experience.  It can also be overwhelming.  You could get stuck in a country and not be able to get out due to mechanical or weather related problems.  You might be someone who is lucky enough to be asked to speak or be an exhibitor for your company.  Any and all of these things happen every week all over our country and around the world.  So what can you come away with that will enhance your life as a person and your professional life?

This actually happened to me this past weekend and it will happen in another form next weekend.  Here’s the scoop.  Last weekend I helped to put on an event.  Here’s what I learned:  communication with your target audience is essential in order to get the right attendees in place to make it a huge success where everyone goes home with the one thing they bought a ticket to get.  Having great food, great location and believe it or not great bathrooms is one of the 3 keys to running a successful event.

How can I use what I learned last weekend in my personal life and in my professional life this week and in the coming months?  Well, I am having a dinner party next week and it is important that the mix of my guests be just right for a pleasant evening.  My home must be of course clean and the bathrooms well appointed and stocked with the conveniences that a guest might need.  The food of course must be “heart healthy” and eye appealing and delicious and filling.   On the professional front, I learned that when I do my own first public event at a venue, there are certain things that I must pay very close attention to and those are the details that will make the event talked about and sought after for the next year.  Things like a great location for my audience that will attend.  It will be a ladies function so the attention to the needs of a female will be paramount.  Like having a massage person on staff or a spa on the site with a reduced rate for my special ladies in attendance.  The goodie take home bag will need to be female creative, colorful and full of things women would like to have not just pens and pieces of sales literature.  The food must be figure friendly and there must be a gym, pool and a place to chill out and just relax.  The content must absolutely by dynamite which will uplift and empower these women to go home refreshed and eager to put what they have learned into practice.

Let’s look at this from another perspective as you the attendee.  When you are assigned to go to a conference for your company what do you do?  Perhaps you dread it and think of it as unproductive time that you have to put time into.  Perhaps you see it as a burden of being away from your family and other obligations.  Perhaps this is really part of your job and you look forward to reconnecting with your peers out there in converenceville.  Here’s how I see it.  If I have paid my own hard earned cash to attend or even if someone has paid for me to attend a conference, I first look at the offerings and ask myself if it were solely up to me what would move me upward and increase my own knowledge base?  What is the primary objective of me going for my company in the case of me being sent to a conference?  I would ask someone.  Once I get to a conference I look around and do a quick once over to see what the offerings are of the exhibitors, the speakers etc.  I get a tour of the facility and see if there is a time when I can squeeze in some “me” pampering since I rarely am at a location where I have access to a spa or great pool (living in the north east).  When I am on the plane ride home, I typically hand write a report of sorts about what I was sent to observe or learn and then put my own two cents worth of commentary about the event and what I learned on a personal and professional level that will make me a better employee.  I type it up when I am in the office the next work day along with my expenses and I am done.

Opportunities abound all around us everyday.  These are the learnings and opportunities that are present in a conference.  What conference’s will you be attending this year and what do you intend on learning?