How many times have you found yourself at a conference, attending sessions you have no interest in, and then spending most of the night catching up on work? Hopefully, not many but a bad conference experience can happen. Many people find themselves ebbing and flowing through conference highs and lows throughout the day, from networking with high potential clients to waiting for people to visit your booth.
Fortunately, we’ve combined our top three tips and tricks to making it past the lows and focusing on the highs at your next conference.
To make these tips more actionable, we reference our recent trip to PMRG Connect 2017 as a case study example. A few Veriloguers listened, discussed, and now they’re ready to share their favorite conference tips and tricks!
Tip: Find Balance
It’s easy to get caught up in the set agenda, wanting to go to every session and talk with everyone. While those are definitely good things (and things you should do!), it’s important to take time to recharge and reflect on what you’re learning. Maybe sit out a session and chat with some new colleagues by the coffee station, or even take some time over lunch to catch up on the news and your email. Whatever makes you feel refreshed, balanced, and ready to go! Applying this tip to PMRG was really beneficial, as it allowed me to focus on the topics that could truly impact what I’m interested in, while also broadening my interests to unexpected areas and attending sessions that were a little more out of the box. By focusing on balancing my time and trying to attend sessions that could be useful to me (and not just attending to see them all), I feel I made the most of my PMRG connect experience
– Shannon Sysko, Linguistic Analyst
Tip: Put Yourself Out There
Conferences represent an opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and reconnect with old friends and colleagues. All in an effort to identify new business relationships or ideas that benefit your organization. One of the easiest things to do is to stay within your comfort zone, talk to only those you know, and run back to your room at the end of the day and order room service. One of the greatest pieces of advice I have ever received was to “put yourself out there”, challenge yourself to engage others in conversation and get outside your comfort zone.
One way I do this is to force myself to sit at a table (at breakfast, lunch, or dinner) not filled with my colleagues or friends, but at a table where I don’t know anyone or there is someone at the table I want to meet. Sure, there is a touch of anxiety when asking to join a table full of strangers, but I have never been rejected. I encourage you to “put yourself out there” and find a way that works for you to create new connections, you never know where the conversation will take you!
– Jamison Barnett, CTO and Vice President
Tip: Keep an Open Mind
Prior to PMRG Connect I reminded myself to keep an open mind. By having this mentality going into any conference allows me to not only learn new things in relation to healthcare, but also helps to generate ideas that I can implement here at Verilogue. It can be tough to keep an open mind at times, especially when we are faced with opinions of others that challenge our own beliefs. However, I’ve found that when I’ve attended with an open mind in the past I’ve reaped a lot of benefits. So, one of my goals was to attend as many diverse sessions as possible.
Since Shannon and Jamison were attending the conference, we made sure to split up the sessions so we maximized our exposure and got the most out of the even as we could. I learned a lot about fascinating topics! The topics ranged anything from humanizing big data to embracing and promoting patient centricity. I’m not suggesting that every presentation I attended was great, even when I was open to learning new things I still encountered some presenters who are off the mark, irrelevant, or just trying to promote themselves to others. But overall, I’ve found that my experience of keeping an open mind at PMRG Connect to be very rewarding, and I’m eager to apply what I’ve learned from the conference at Verilogue!
– Erin Culp, Business Development Analyst