With the registration date for ClickerExpo coming up, I began to think about what learning goals to concentrate on this year, who I wanted to hear speak, and if there should be a theme or if I should just see whatever sounded interesting. I then began to think about the other part of going to conferences; meeting people and networking. So many times I’ve seen someone I haven’t seen in years passing by in between sessions and had that
1. Put people you want to meet on your schedule.
I always have the best of intentions and every conference I fail. This year I’m putting people on my schedule. Message people and ask them for a time to meet or share a meal or have a drink. Put the appointment on your schedule with a reminder so you don’t become that person that stood someone up at a training conference. You have 3 meals a day, after conference
Related: Are drinks after the conference your favorite part of attending conferences? Do you like meeting online friends in-person? Ever wish you had a group of local, friendly dog trainers to chat with to continue the conversation? Check out our latest project: Mastermind Meetups for Modern Dog Trainers
2. You don’t have to fill every session.
I actually learned this when I got violently ill at a conference. Fatigue set in and I needed to prioritize my energy instead of my desire to see everything. There were some session slots where there just wasn’t anything that really perked my interest or I had seen all the presentations already. I skipped that period and took a nap, waking up refreshed for the speakers I really wanted to see. When I skipped and didn’t take a nap, I met a bunch of people that were also skipping! If you’re just trying to fill time by seeing a speaker, meet up with people instead.
3. Introduce yourself to people sitting or eating alone.
If you haven’t filled a meal period with a scheduled meet up then scan the dining area and look for people wearing the conference badge who
4. Remember to get cards or contact information for people you meet.
I’m putting this on a post-it note on my forehead this year, “Please give me your business card.” After introducing myself and eating with a stranger and having a lovely conversation, it inevitably happens that the conference bell rings and you’re off and running to the next session. The number of times I’ve grabbed my things and said, “Thank you for the wonderful lunch!” then sprinted away is embarrassing. Take a moment, get a card or have the person put their email
5. Organize meetups with your virtual friends.
We all have them, people we “know” from Twitter, Facebook, certification organizations, clubs, and schools. Schedule a meetup and get a few people you want to meet in one place. On
Check out our latest project: Mastermind Meetups for Modern Dog Trainers
Did we miss anything? What is your go-to strategy for attending conferences? Tell us in the comments!