HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR VISIT TO A CONFERENCE
This article was originally published on Social Media Week website
Finally, you have it! A pass to Social Media Week! It is your chance to discover the latest trends and insights in technology, media, marketing, and more from some of the biggest names across the globe. You are ready to learn about leading ideas and innovations, and you want to know how social media and technology can change business, society and culture around the world.
You look into the program – Wow! There are so many events, keynotes, presentations, talks, showcases, workshops, masterclasses! So much to do. So much to participate in. How do you find your way through this overwhelming load of information, events, and opportunities?
Take a deep breath. It’s all doable! Here is are eight things that will help you get the most out of your visit to a conference. Social Media Week conference, or any other. Follow these steps to stay focused and you will head home feeling invigorated instead of exhausted.
Ready? Set? Go!
1. SET YOURSELF UP BEFORE YOU EVEN GET THERE
Usually this begins in the morning. Plan how you are going to get to the conference venue, by public transport or by car, where you will park, how much time you’ll need on the road. Decide on what you are going to wear, make sure it is comfortable enough for long days sitting in classes but nice enough to meet your peers and be introduced to the experts and social media influencers. Do that. Everything counts. Make sure you take your phone, tablet, and other devices are charged and ready to go.
2. EXAMINE THE PROGRAM THOROUGHLY
Social Media Week schedules have a lot to offer. You can find the complete program, related to your SMW city on the SMW website. This year’s global theme is “Upwardly Mobile: The Rise of the Connected Class,” and this week continues to explore that around the globe. There are various keynotes about Social & Innovations in Business, Technology and Society. Plan a session for each time slot, but remember to arrive early as most events (depending on SMW city) are first come, first served. You’ll also want to set time aside for meetings and networking as well.
3. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
There are more than 600 speakers around the SMW world for this September’s conference. You can learn about them on the Social Media Week website. Find out who they are, what was their work experience, and think of what you can learn from them. Explore their social profiles (links are also available on the website). Connect with them to maximize your conference experience.
4. BE PRESENT — RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
One of the best ways to manage your energy is to be present in this moment. And this moment. And this moment too. If you’re recycling this morning’s conversation in your head, or considering the next one, or if you’re worrying about getting home in time to watch a television show you’ve already seen before — you’re not present. Tune in and show up.
5. TAKE A TIME OUT
You don’t have to do everything listed on the schedule. And if you want to take a break to digest the experience — honor that. Feel free to say no and go for what feels right for that moment. Find a quiet spot to relax, make a call to your loved one, check your email or social accounts, or do any and all of the above. For example, in Rotterdam there are side events planned – such as chair massages in the foyer of the venue. That is a cool way to reboot!
6. SHARE WHAT YOU SEE AND LEARN ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Take many notes and photos. Share them with your friends, followers, and colleagues. It’s a good way to engage with your audience, inform your co-workers and connect with other conference attendees. A post on Facebook, a photo on Instagram or a video on Periscope will let your creativity grow. Social Media Week has specific hashtags for each location as well: #SMWRdam, #smwldn, #smwmiami, #smwsp. This way you can easily find relevant content.
7. WORK HARD – PLAY HARD
Don’t forget that you are here not only to learn, but to have fun as well. These topics and our work is certainly fun, so take your time to eat lunch or grab a coffee. This is a great way to meet new people and socialize with your colleagues. Make sure you attend networking breakfasts and happy hours at the end of each day too.
8. REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE HERE
You’re here to learn, network, connect, have fun, enjoy, share, contribute, and so much more. And remember your “WHY”. Why do what you do? Who you do it for? The people and reasons you’re here for, such as your team, your business, your clients, your family, your brand, and yourself. Connect to that “why” and it will give you an extra energy boost.
We hope you can participate this week (September 14-18, 2015) in one of the four September cities (London, Miami, Rotterdam and São Paulo).