It might be tempting to think of a conference as being more or less like any work day in terms of the demands it places on you. However, in terms of preparation and tactics, it might be better to think of it as more of an endurance event in business casual.
- Stay hydrated. You’ll be in a climate-controlled environment all day, and that can drain the moisture right out of you. Plus, you won’t be at your desk where you’ve got your special insulated water cup. Fortunately, most conferences include a water bottle of some sort in the swag bag. And most hotel conference rooms have pitchers of ice water in the back. Just fill the water bottle from those pitchers before each session, then keep the bottle visible so you’ll remember to drink from it.
- Get enough sleep. Of course, there are get-togethers at most conferences, and those can be valuable partying–er, networking opportunities. If you can’t make your regular bedtime during a conference, make time for a nap during a time block where you aren’t interested in any of the sessions.
- Dress in layers. We’ve all been there: it’s blistering outside, but it’s arctic in the conference center. Or it’s chilly outside but roasting inside. Either way, you’ll want to prepare for the extremes of temperature. Start with an outfit you’re comfortable in when it’s slightly warm, then add layers: a sweater, a blazer, an overcoat, etc. That way, if you’re cold, you can put layers on until you’re comfortable. And if you’re warm, you probably won’t sweat too much.
- Remember that you’re human and time is linear. Try to leave a break of about 15 minutes between each session you attend. For one thing, you’ve got to get to the session itself, which can mean going to another floor or even another building. For another, many sessions run over and that can cut into any back-to-back sessions you’ve got scheduled. And finally, you need a few minutes to digest what you’ve learned in each session.
So when we see you at Staffing World 2012 this month, we hope you’ll have a water bottle in your hand and a sweater on. See you there!