For many of you LIANZA Conference 2009 will be one of several that you’ve attended over the years. For others it will be the first time. With exactly one of these full-on library-fests under my belt I thought that I would make some suggestions of what newbie conference attendees can expect. How best to tackle the conference beast if you will.
First up is the programme. You’ll need to print this out and grab yourself some highlighter pens. In a colour of your choosing highlight all conference events to do with free food or drink (morning teas, especially the newcomers morning tea so you can suss out the rest of the newbies, also lunches and afternoon teas) Include any other socialising possibilities such as SIG meetings and of course the SOL Square evening. These are the backbone around which the rest of the conference programme (and your exhausted body) will hang.
In a different colour highlight all the keynote speaker sessions. While these might not be tailored specifically to your role or job, the keynote speakers are always interesting. They round out the themes and set the tone for the conference and have a tendency to be pretty inspirational. Plus, these are likely to be the topic of “water cooler” chat and you don’t want to miss out there.
In another colour highlighter (okay, you could use all the same colour but then it would be a lot less like a fun craft project then wouldn’t it?) try and pick out the sessions that you think will be of use in your role, and maybe a couple in areas you might be interested in in the future, after all it’s all about professional development.
Try to leave yourself an empty slot or two to go shopping/get your nails done/feed some ducks by the river or whatever it is you do to chill out because though it’s all very well and good to highlight away on paper, when it comes to the actual conference it’s an intellectually and physically exhausting few days. If you don’t take a least a little time out you’ll go spare.
If there’s something that you really want to go to on Wednesday morning, you’d best bear that in mind on Tuesday night.
In years past the Exhibitors hall has gained a reputation as a veritable El Dorado of corporate freebies. There will be free things but in the current climate it might not be the avalanche of goodies you’ve been led to expect. And who needs a bunch of plastic rubbish anyway? Take things that you think you may actually use rather than grabbing anything and everything like a kid in a candy shop. My advice is that some kind of tote is good, and you can never have too many pens.
So that’s my “conference wisdom”. Any other tips from conference veterans for first timers? Please comment below.