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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Three Tips For Attending Conferences
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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Three Tips For Attending Conferences - Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Three Tips For Attending Conferences

Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: Three Tips For Attending Conferences

Love them or hate them, professional conferences or conventions are a necessary fact of business life in almost any field. They can be incredibly taxing in valuable personal resources such as time and stress, but they can result in even more valuable connections with others, the sharing of important new ideas, and big reminders to others that your organization is one to pay attention to. Toward that best-case scenario, here are three tips that will make your conference experience better.

Send Stuff Ahead of You
As with other areas of your life, literally and figuratively, you’ll move through the tricky parts with ease and grace if you’re dealing with less baggage. Whether it’s company-branded schwag, materials for a presentation, or your golf bag for extra networking time, it adds unnecessary stress to the travel portion of your trip. Send your materials to your hotel via overnight delivery, or if the budget allows, hire a luggage service to deal with bags you can’t carry aboard the plane. Shipping items from the office to the hotel also means fewer stops in between, and thus fewer places where anything can get lost, forgotten, or damaged. Make sure someone at the office and at home is prepared to overnight your Plan B materials (or clothing!) in case there’s a mess-up somewhere along the way. This works for the return trip as well; yes, it adds an extra item to the to-do list, but what it saves in hassle is more than worth it.

Plan for Technology Issues
If you’re going to be manning the booth or presenting at a breakout, plan for as many technology variables as you can reasonably imagine. This means bringing your own power strips, preparing offline archives of websites, packing your own wifi if possible, and planning a completely no-tech version of your work that will engage others and not require you to open with an apology for tech issues that aren’t your fault. If you’re using an Apple laptop for your slideshow (or other multimedia elements), the importance of toting your own adaptor for monitors and projectors cannot be stressed enough; there’s someone at every conference frantically asking, “Does anyone have a VGA adaptor for a MacBook Pro?” You can also set yourself up to be a hero by bringing an assortment of Mac adaptors for anyone who might need one. Whatever your needs, you can and should count on something tech-related not to go quite as you imagined it.

Be a Catalyst
You won’t remember everyone you shake hands with, but you will remember the person who invites you to join his or her group for lunch or drinks. Be that person for others. There are always several people on the fringes of these conferences who would enjoy a friendly gesture but are uncomfortable making one. Seek them out and be the cause of their getting to know each other. As we have emphasized in previous articles, quality networking is about developing relationships, something that’s more likely to happen if you focus on being more conduit than schmoozer. When you’ve gotten a few minutes into conversation with someone you’ve just met, find a good moment to trade Twitter handles, and follow him or her on the spot from your smartphone, and as your conversation grows to include others, share those connections with newcomers. Find moments to share with the Twitterverse the conversations you’re having, with messages like, “Great talk about privacy issues with @_______ at #conference_name.” Do a Twitter search for others tweeting from your conference and initiate backchannel discussions using the established hashtag (or create a hashtag if one hasn’t been declared). Create and nurture engagement for yourself and others.

Whatever your personal mission for any conference or convention, make it also your goal to minimize stress, predict and prepare for problems, and engage others in meaningful conversation toward fostering relationships, and you will get maximum value from your participation while adding to the value gained by others in attendance.


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Tips For The Traveling Executive: Three Tips For Attending Conferences - Executive Leadership Articles

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