Preparing for Integrate!

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I am ecstatic to be attending INTEGRATE next week. I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it to Morgantown before I graduated, but am thrilled I was able to use this conference as a professional development experience this year. Before heading out I wanted to share with you five of my tips for attending conferences.

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  • Pre-network: I’m a bit of an introvert and walking into a networking session not knowing anybody is very challenging for me. One thing I do to prepare for this is to reach out to people on Facebook, Twitter, and in class to see who is attending and when they’ll be arriving. That way I’ve already started to make connections with people and feel more comfortable walking into those events. (I’m serious…if you see me walk right up and say hi. Networking is only awkward for the first few minutes.)
  • Bring business cards! It may seem like a no brainer, but I cannot tell you how many times people have asked for my card and I’m out. Additionally, I’ve notice that my phone number isn’t on there. I write my office number of the back of the cards in advance so that it doesn’t take time away from a great conversation. I also find it very beneficial to write on the back of someone else’s business card how I met them or something else to help me remember them. You meet a lot of people at conferences and even though you think you’ll remember them chances are you won’t!
  • Research and schedule: I find that I can look through the conference schedule 100 times beforehand, plan everything out, and as soon as I get to the conference I go rogue. All my planning goes out the window and I find sessions that I didn’t see before that might be interesting. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I do recommend looking at the schedule in advance. I also think that doing a little background research on the keynote speakers helps you be more engaged in the presentation and helps you make a connection with the presenter if there’s time for questions.
  • Develop your system: While I was at the ACUI conference in April I was still trying to figure out how to make the most of my conference experience during the conference. I was taking notes in Evernote on my iPad and my iPhone. There was a syncing issue and I lost everything that had been documented on my phone. I recommend trying to figure out a system so that you’re not scrambling to document things or lose valuable information.
  • Dive in: Again, not rocket science, but I do think it is valuable information. Like I said, I’m a bit of an introvert and buying into things that are out of my comfort zone is not always an easy task. I encourage you to dive right into the conference so that you don’t walk away saying “I wish I would have tried this” or “I wish I would have done that.” You only get one chance to build these connections and have these experiences, so it’s important that you take advantage of them.

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I hope you found this information beneficial. If you see me at an event or session please come up and say hi. I really do love meeting new people! I also encourage you to join the Facebook event so you can “pre-network” with others that are attending!

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2 Responses to “Preparing for Integrate!”

  1. Matt Crist Says:

    Thanks for the advice!

    Although I won’t be going to Integrate this year, I plan to go next year as a post-graduate.

    Pre-networking is a great idea, and I agree with your business card tip too. After collecting a stash of cards, it’s easy to lose track of names and faces.

    For several reasons, I always try to take good notes. First, it helps me concentrate. Secondly, it improves my ability to recall it later.

    I also recommend doing whatever you can to get the most out of what you paid for. From my experience at conferences, it’s easy to get there and in the midst of everything, lose track of the game plan. For this reason, I keep a list of the itinerary and things I don’t want to miss.

  2. Henry Vinson Says:

    Reblogged this on Henry Vinson .

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