Select a path . but not in permanent ink. The advice you’ll find online on how to choose conference sessions and activities is all over the map, ranging from “catch everything you,” to “go to the plenary lecture,” and “coffee breaks, receptions, and group meals,” to “package all the time aside beforehand,” to “promote food, liquid, and you will an excellent book.”
Conference organizers often schedule some open go out during meeting days. societal communication (impromptu conversations, calls home). Write your session selections within the pen (either literally or metaphorically), so that you don’t feel honor bound to attend everything.
Many conferences have downloadable mobile apps that you can use to select sessions and create a custom schedule. That way, you don’t have to wade through a lot of information to see where you are going next. A longstanding part of my conference prep, even today, is to create an analog version of my custom schedule on scrap paper. I write the conference Wi-Fi code, session start times, and the names and locations of events. My handwritten schedule doesn’t require a Wi-Fi connection, is easy to adjust, and is the fastest way I know of to see where I’m headed next. OK, so I’m a Luddite. Don’t me about this, though: The real takeaway here is to use whatever planning tools work best for you.
Do some pre-networking. I don’t mean the oily schmoozing that many people think of when they hear the word “networking.” And I don’t mean re-creating my 1998 rain of business cards over Vancouver. Rather, scan the program for familiar names, look at an enthusiastic attendee list, or ask people in your own certain channels if they are attending.
Then, based on your goals for the conference, ask to meet up with a select few. ahead of time to catch up with colleagues whom you haven’t seen in a while; connect to people whose work you have read and want to explore; or offer to be a fulfilling buddy for an acquaintance you hope to get to know. It can be this easy to set up:
The primary terms here: select few. Over good three-go out meeting, you get much more away from 31-second talks having five people than just you might rushing using 10-second chats that have fifteen.