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Posted on 08.18.2016

Should you attend that conference? Identifying relevant opportunities and making the most of them

Conferences and other professional development events are great opportunities to network, learn new skills and expand your knowledge. They can also represent a significant investment of time and money, however, so here are some tips on how to choose the right conference and make the most of your experience.

conferences and professional development opportunities

  • Look for an opportunity that will teach you knew skills or enhance current abilities.
    Make sure your career goals and professional development needs are in line with the training or growth opportunities the event offers.  This will force you to examine critically which opportunities are best for you (example: the fun conference your coworkers are attending might not be the one that’s likely to help you grow your talent).
  • Link the value of the conference to business goals.
    If you’re looking to increase your social media presence, enhance your media relations tactics, or find new ways for measuring campaign success, keep any eye out for opportunities that revolve around these topics. If they align with your organization’s goals, you’ll be sure to learn something valuable you can apply to your work.

  • Offer to educate your coworkers what you learned when you return.
    Attending a conference or other professional development event is a smart way to bring back skills and knowledge to the rest of the organization. Get extra copies of the handouts or presentations from the workshops and panels you attend and take detailed notes so you can hold a meeting or training session for your colleagues when you return. This not only allows you to spread your knowledge and improve your whole organization, but gives you the opportunity to practice what you learned and ensure you understand it completely.

 

During the conference

DO:

  • Choose sessions where you’ll learn something new or further develop an important skill
  • Take the initiative to create networking situations
  • Keep business cards and something to write with at all times

DON’T:

  • Spend all of your time with coworkers you see every day. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet new people
  • Overwork yourself. Give yourself time to rest and relax during the conference
  • Try to be someone you’re not. Using a false persona is stressful and exhausting

 

Bailey Wimmer is an Assistant Account Executive at Lovell Communications. Connect with Bailey at Bailey@lovell.com

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