April 8, 2014

3 tips to get more out of conferences

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Here are some ways you can maximize your experience at events

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, marketers, managers, educators, journalists, general public.

Caroline AvakianConference season is well underway. Last week at the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference, the keynote speaker and Echoing Green president, Cheryl Dorsey, began her great talk with some hints to us attendees on conference best practices.

So allow me to share those helpful tips with you all. They’re easy to manage but pack a big punch, and you’ll be glad you set these in motion when you get back from your next conference.

Start with the end in mind

1What are the top three things you want to get out of this conference? Whether it’s meeting a particular attendee or speaker or gaining a better understanding of how to create a social media strategy for your nonprofit, the more specific you are, the likelier you are to walk out of that conference feeling satisfied and accomplished.

Also, something that stood out to me as being really powerful was that Cheryl mentioned being conscious of not only meeting those who can help you, but those who you can help as well. They are equally important.

Use your business cards to their fullest potential

2In the flurry of meet and greets, it is likely you get home and don’t remember half of who those cards are from. To remedy this, think of one actionable item for each person you meet. Then write it on their business card before you walk out of the room.

Lessons learned

3Take a minute and write down the three things you learned after each conference session you attend. It will all seem like less of a blur once you get back home and you’ll be able to take action on the items that really stood out.

What are some of your favorite conference-going tips and tricks?Caroline Avakian, Socialbrite’s Managing Partner, is a global development communications strategist in the New York City area with a focus on strategic communications, innovation, PR, and content marketing. Caroline is also the founder of SourceRise, a digital platform connecting journalists to international NGO sources. Contact Caroline by email, see her profile page, visit her website, follow her on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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  • Andrew Garberson

    I like this post’s preparation, participation, reflection approach. Drafting a blog post for each stage might bind us to them.

  • Lucky

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  • You can also get more out of conferences by using Twitter – live tweeting and following the conference hashtag. It’s a great way to see who is at the conference and get different ideas on the various sessions.