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How to attend a conference

The spring round of industry conferences is coming up, and if you are going to one, here are some tips to bear in mind.

  • Take the minimum amount of stuff with you. You won’t need a notebook: any good conference organiser will provide copies of slides and blank paper for notes. So don’t load yourself up with unnecessary things and keep your handbag small.
  • One exception to that rule: if you are going to a big event where there will be stalls, pack a collapsible bag for all your freebies and documents. You won’t be able to walk past a stall without getting a host of leaflets (and samples if you are lucky) thrust at you. Even if you are just going to a day of sit-down lectures, there will still be lecture notes, pens and company flyers for you to take away.
  • Wear your name badge. Just accept the fact that people will then have an excuse to stare at your breasts. Never pin your badge to your waistband.
  • Take business cards to hand out at every opportunity, and so you don’t look stupid when someone gives you theirs and you can’t pass them one back. Write a description of the person on the back (when they aren’t looking, obviously) so that when you get home you have a fighting chance at remembering who was who.

I’ll be going to the International Congress for Project, Programme and Risk Management at the beginning of next month in London. There are some great speakers lined up: Eddie Obeng, Richard Pharro, Richard Reeves, and I’m sure Liz Underhill’s case study of the London 2012 Olympics is going to be interesting. The two-day event includes a programme of free activities so if you are in the area and can’t attend the whole thing, you could stop by to join a project management seminar, find out more about PRINCE2:2009 or take part in a discussion group. Maybe I’ll see you there…

Happy conference season!

About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin FAPM is a professional project manager and award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.
Elizabeth lives in the UK with her family. She uses her organisation and project management skills at home, and also to help other bloggers at Totally Organised Blogging.

Comments

  1. And dont forget to pack comfortable shoes !! there is never enough seats to sit and have a coffee so a bottle of water is also a must keep hydrated!!

  2. Ah, you can take whatever you can carry to a residential event. What I meant was streamline your handbag to carry into the conference hall itself – women tend to lug around huge bags. This is what is in mine at the moment: BlackBerry, mobile phone, keys, purse, diary, novel to read on the tube, USB stick, tissues, make up (5 items), glasses cleaner, map, pens (2), pencil, tube ticket, gloves. I work with people who have children’s toys in their bags, so I consider myself someone who travels light. Even so, I don’t need all that stuff for the conference next week!

    Vladimir, men don’t seem to have this problem, so you’ll probably be OK wherever you go! 🙂

  3. What do you exactly mean with “minimum amount of stuff”? 🙂 There are huge differences between one day conference and four days in the middle of nowhere!

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