Peak Performance: Making the Most of a Conference

As you might suspect, our team has been focusing a lot on conference prep issues over the last couple of weeks.

The ThirdPool Edge Conference is now less than a week away. A wonderful group of individuals have reserved their spots and will be heading to Seattle soon. We’re honored and excited to share what we’ve learned about the psychology of recruiting with these attendees.

In preparation, we’re putting our focus on delivering an experience that will provide the highest level of value possible. It’s our responsibility to make the conference the best it can possibly be.EdgeConference

Here’s a question you may not have considered: What’s your responsibility as a conference attendee?

Many of our WorkPuzzle readers were not able to attend the Edge Conference this year, but will probably be attending other professional conferences in the months ahead.

Have you considered how to get the most out of the conferences you attend?

Insight on this topic comes from Richard Millington at Feverbee.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I learn a lot from Richard’s insightful writings.

Richard published this article via email over a year ago. After reading his article, I’ve applied several of his ideas during the conferences I’ve attended since then. This stuff works!

The original article was quite long and only available to his email subscribers (at least I can’t find it online).   So, here is a subset of ten ideas I found most helpful.

Research the attendees beforehand. Make a list of whom you want to meet and what you want to ask them.

E-mail the top [three] people you want to meet in advance. Ask them out for coffee before you meet up at the conference. If any are local, arrange to meet at the airport, share cabs, hotels, etc…

Tell stories. Have a few funny/interesting stories about your work you can share. Make sure it has a beginning, middle, and an end. Get comfortable telling the same few stories about your work. Don’t give facts–give interesting examples. Put together your best stories that you can drop into a discussion.

Know your strengths. Be clear about how you can help people you meet at an event. Don’t be shy about saying what you’re good at, but counter-balance this with the next point.

Know your weaknesses. Be clear about what you need help with. People want to help you. You need to know what you want help with. Be specific.

Introduce yourself. Get comfortable turning to the person next to you and saying ‘Hi I’m ….’. if you do this 100 times, you’ll never get a bad reaction. Follow a 3-second rule. Do it within the first 3 seconds of sitting down.

Join in the conversations. I go up to existing groups and say “mind if I join you, I’m Rich.” I shake hands with everyone, let the discussions continue, then join in with my opinion.

Leave others before they leave you. Or, put more simply, don’t be clingy. If someone moves away and you follow them without being invited, you’re being clingy. Don’t panic, we’ve all done it.

End discussions politely. If you want to end a discussion, offer your business card and then say you’re going to circulate the room a little. We can all understand this.

Focus on fun, not done. Don’t worry so much about getting stuff done. We’ll cover that in our workshop sessions. Focus on having fun discussions with the people you meet. Suggest a few ideas.

Pull this list out a week or so ahead of your next conference. You’ll be surprised how much more benefit completing some of this before you arrive helps you get more benefit from your investment.

For all of you attending the Edge Conference…this is your homework!


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