How to Get the Most Out of Your Conference Experience (Planning for Before, During, and After)

Are you getting ready to attend a conference?

While attending a conference gives you a spectacular opportunity to create and strengthen connections with others in your industry, as well as learn something new along the way, it does require some preparation.

If you plan to just show up and “wing it,” you probably won’t find as much value in your conference experience as you could have otherwise. Instead, make a plan for how you can get the most out of your time there. You’ll get back to work motivated to maintain the relationships you made and put into practice the things you learned.

Let’s start by examining how you might want to dress for your conference.

What to Wear to a Conference

At any conference, you want to give a good first impression, and that begins with what you are wearing.

Crafting the perfect conference-chic outfit isn’t hard—it just takes some forethought. If you present yourself in a wrinkled shirt or stained tie, you could come off as lazy or apathetic. On the other hand, the right clothing can give you confidence, control, and charisma, making it easy to put your best foot forward.

Pre-Conference Prep Tips

Whether you want to learn about new technology, hear from an expert in your industry, or practice your speaking and exhibiting skills, preparing for a conference with a specific goal in mind will get you far.

Here are a few tips for before you attend:

During-Conference Tips

Once you’re at the conference, it’s time to shine by learning as much as you can and making connections with as many people as possible.

Here are a few tips to try once you get to the conference:

Post-Conference Tips

So, you prepared well and made it through your conference with flying colors. Fantastic! Now you can just go back to work as usual, right? Think again.

If you want to get the most value out of the time and money it took to attend that conference, you need to follow up afterward.

Here are a couple of solid ways to extend the value of your conference:

With a little bit of preparation and follow-up, you can take your conference experience from “meh” to marvelous. Get started with these tips, and let us know in the comments of any other strategies you use.

Want more? Check out our Top HR Conferences post to see a list of the some of the most popular conferences in the industry.