I LOVE attending conferences. Even when I’m there to speak, I always attend as much as I can before or after my own seminar or workshop. I have some conferences that I attend even when I am not presenting. I go because I love to learn, to network, and to catch up with my industry friends who I only see a few times a year. However, I know some people that dread conferences…even local ones. But with a little extra thought and some advanced planning, every personality can learn to make the most of a conference experience.
Yellows: To us, a conference can seem like one big party. (Especially the three I attend regularly in Las Vegas…) I am not going to tell a Yellow not to have fun, but if you are going to learn you may need to see “no” to some of the extra activities. If you try to do everything and be at every “extra” event, even you may accidentally sleep through a seminar. If you do the late night “networking” outing, you may not be able to make the early breakfast. Think about your priorities and your goals for attending and make good choices that will allow you to have fun and be social, but still be attentive when required.
Blues: Some Blues avoid conferences because they don’t like being around so many people. That is okay – you are different from me, but that is alright. Blues will probably be happier if they create their schedule around the education. Sign up for workshops that limit the number of participants and perhaps attend fewer seminars in the main room where you may feel overwhelmed in the crowd. If you do go to the big gatherings, arrive early and get a seat near the front. It may help you forgot how full the room behind you is. Schedule alone time and one on one time with other friends or colleagues, and don’t feel bad about skipping the after-paraty if that isn’t your scene.
Reds: Reds tend to be all business. Remember that building relationships IS part of your business. Go to the classes and workshops. Take notes. But take the time to talk to people, attend the socials, and eat meals with others. Resist the temptation to go back to your room alone immediately after the last session and work on your laptop for the rest of the night.
Green: Go! Find an outgoing friend you enjoy, and sign up with them. Having someone you feel comfortable with will help you while you are there. Like your Blue colleagues, you too will want to schedule some down time to recharge, but be brave! When someone asks you to have lunch with them or attend another session with them…say yes!
Plan ahead, and make the best choices for your personality type. Plan to thrive, not just survive!