Are you heading to a conference?

If you find yourself heading to a conference, here’s some great tips to make the best use of your time and get the most out of the day.

Maximize your time by planning ahead.

Read your conference’s agenda. Identify not only the formal opportunities for education and outreach, but available time in which you can create your own opportunities. Look at floor plans and area maps in advance. Are the events you’re attending close together, or far apart? Locate useful amenities, such as shipping services. Research arrival and ground transportation, tipping customs, dining options, and local etiquette. All of these efforts will increase your confidence, and let you make the most of your time at the conference.

Choose tools that eliminate stress.

Card files, bulky planners, and notebooks accidentally left in a taxi or on a plane can be relics of the past. Computer and smartphone tools such as Dropbox, Simplenote, Evernote Hello, Google Calendar, and Fantastical collect your thoughts, streamline your contacts, and tell you where you are expected to be in ten minutes…and they’ll still remember it all, long after your return home.

Step beyond saying hello.

Conferences are one of the best ways to contact with other like-minded people. We are all stuck at our desks with lots of hours online. Attendees at any conference want to be together to exchange ideas, get new ideas, and dream big. If you have an issue at work, ask meaningful questions of other attendees and vendors. Attendees are willing to help other like-minded individuals, so use the event to get what you need for your business. Many vendors are also willing to share their experiences in dealing with other companies, which gives you valuable insights to bring back to the office.

Stay sharp.

Conferences often require more walking and talking than an ordinary work day. What’s more, fantastic sessions and scintillating conversation can mean compromise on meals and rest. Carrying a water bottle and some small snacks allows you to renew energy conveniently. And a quick stroll around the block can restore needed focus.

Written by Erin Fitzgerald

If your conference is taking you out of the country, read up on a destination of your choice by clicking on the free trial button on the right.