To wrap up the blog posts this week from my thoughts of last years ProBlogger Event, I thought I’d include my tips for blogger conferences. These are also valid for other types of conferences and for science fiction conventions.
Conferences are a huge investment. Not only in the dollars you outlay for attendance, travel and accommodation, but also for the amount of time spent concentrating, networking, and on-the-go.
Obviously the key I’m trying to get across here is that in order to get the most from the experience, (or to sound all business-like, to get your biggest Return on Investment) you need to perform at maximum capacity.
Here are the little things that I think help
Know your typing speed:
Sounds a bit like something you get stuck doing if you want a job in medical admin, not if you’re going to a blogger conference. All I mean here is know the most efficient way for you to take notes. For example, I type faster than I write. It’s a useful side effect of having worked in offices since I was 17. However, for me that only applies to actual keyboards. And it’s even better on keyboards I’m familiar with. So, I write faster on a notepad by hand than I write on an iPhone or iPad with a virtual screen.
My strategy for conferences this year: MacBook Air as main note-taking device. iPad as backup note device. iPhone only for Internet use/camera so I don’t feel tempted to carry my heavy (but lovely) DSLR everywhere. And a notepad & pen as backup.
Maintain sleep patterns:
While I don’t have kids, I did spend a few years with a shocking sleep pattern due to work. As a result of that, I keep fairly strict times of when I go to sleep, because it makes me feel better overall. It’s highly likely at a conference that there will be late events and people who want to “party on” until the early hours. By all means, join in if you want! Networking is best when it’s about friendship over business, and blogging is pretty special in that most people consider themselves friends before business contacts (even if they are both). Also, my personal rule is to get up early even if I went to bed late. Since I’m usually up before 6am every day, a sleep in until 7am lets me catch up on whatever sleep I missed the night before, as well as allowing me to still have a useful ay. And since I’m usually up early anyway, I feel like my day is wasted if I do something outrageous like sleep in until 9am (rare!).
Not everyone has restrictive eating issues but I find this to be another place where you need self-discipline. Try new food if it’s at the lunches and dinners; by all means! New experiences are great. New food, even greater! But don’t eat things that you may have a reaction to, just because it’s in front of you.
What works for you to maintain energy at a conference?
2 Replies to “Know Yourself: Conference Edition”
Being an academic, conferences are a huge part of my life! I’m really looking forward to problogger though. During conferences I try to find some alone time. I’m not used to being surrounded by a lot of people, so I often make sure I get my own room. Even if I’m going with friends, I usually get an individual room. Being able to escape to my room and shut all the networking and people out is what keeps me going during conferences. Looking forward to meeting you in September!
I never quite went down the full academic path (still dream of doing a phd one day though!) but I went to enough day-conferences 🙂 I’m hoping to make it to one of the academic conferences this year too. Having your own room is a great tip to keep comforts during a conference.