Out-of-town conferences are more than an escape from the city peppered with interesting talks. They’re a chance to realize different areas of your respective industry that the day-to-day just doesn’t offer; it’s an area of business many young professionals take for granted. In-town networking events are great to meet other notable contacts, but often the talk consists of surface banter and business anecdotes. Going to a conference, out-of-town or even at home for that matter, provides a breaking ground for fraternization and personal connections. It’s where great ideas pertinent to your career flutter around amidst other established and young professionals. With this in mind, and after our notable trip to this year’s Future Flash, we’ve decided to bring you some tips about business conference conduct. Think of it as an etiquette class…minus Emily Post.
GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS Turn off the smartphone (yes, we did just say that and no, we won’t take it back), remove your internet-on-the-go rocket stick, and pay attention. Sure, not every speaker at the average consortium will have the allure of a TED Talker, but they’re there for a reason: to share knowledge and insights about the business world you’re in. Removing at least 80 per cent of the distractions around you – this does include forgoing live tweeting – will ensure you get the most out of your time. As an added bonus, you’ll have plenty of icebreaker conversation, and won’t be left pondering what your potential new contacts are chatting about between sessions.
WORK OUT YOUR BODY BEFORE YOUR MIND Bring running shoes, your favourite pair of sweats, whatever you need for a quick workout; this is particularly key if you’re at an overnight conference. Speech after speech after speech locked up in a poorly-circulated – and even worse, often poorly-decorated – space is a challenge not only for your mind but for your body as well. You’ll be much more likely to retain information and deal with the cramped accommodations if you work in a quick work out before and after the day’s talks. (Notable’s own Julian Brass calls it his Sanity Saver, and recommends a power walk in the morning.)
DON’T MISS THE PARTY BECAUSE THE PARTY WON’T MISS YOU (figuratively, of course) Out-of-town conferences can be miles away from your home base, which means getting there on time often presents a bit of a hurdle. But what you’ll miss if you’re late to the table is more than just an opening breakfast or lunch. You’ll miss the initial chance to meet other young professionals in attendance, which means you run the risk of being the odd-man-out. Don’t fall victim to amateurish tardiness: Hit up the kick-off lunches and receptions, go to the coffee and cookies welcomes. You’ll be able to start your networking blitz early, which means you’ll be that much farther ahead come conference close.
KEEP YOUR EAR TO THE GROUND Don’t get too preoccupied with leaving your business getaway or “staycation.” You’d be surprised how much can transpire at a conference’s end. Golf games, skiing, dinners and drinks are all potentially on the horizon, so keep six at all times and try to weave into a savvy group. You might end up on the putting green with some very notable people, and you’ll be able to connect with them personally, which, in time, could lead to professionally as well.