Getting More from My Summer Conference Schedule

by | Jun 7, 2018 | EduSocial Blog, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Industry conferences happen all year long and provide us with the opportunity to network with others, learn new techniques, and get reenergized to do the work we are called to do. What I find is that I am often so focused on “wrapping things up” in the office before I head out to a conference that I forget to plan for and be intentional about building value into these great events. This results in me feeling frazzled, forgetting to schedule my time, and ultimately missing out on opportunities to make a change in the business. Then when I return to the office, I am hit with a barrage of email or voicemail messages that prevent me from sharing what I learned with others in the office…let alone implement any of the ideas I gathered.

I have decided that it is time to stop the madness and make these large events work for us and not against us! Here is my approach for summer events.

Start with a plan

Once you have registered for a specific conference or event, spend an hour setting a few goals. What do you want to accomplish? Who else will be there that you want to connect with? What information are you hoping to gather? Whenever possible, make sure that these goals align with your business or professional development objectives and use the SMART goal setting formula to ensure your results can be measured upon your return.  To ensure a goal is SMART you make sure it is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound.

Connect with other attendees

It is important to connect with other attendees, speakers, sponsors, and vendors before you ever walk into the conference hall.  You can use social media to research other people who are talking about the event. If there is a conference hashtag, follow it. I suggest being proactive and creating a list in Twitter of the people that are tweeting the conference hashtag.  This give you the opportunity to set up coffee meetings or happy hour conversations with those individuals you identify as potential clients or business partners. If you wait until the first day of the event, you have likely missed opportunities and are more likely wasting time alone or trying to track down individuals who have already scheduled their time.

Take notes

You will hear a lot of amazing information in a compact period of time. If you fail to take notes you will return to the office and not be able to remember the action item that you took away from the speaker on day 1. Look your notes over at the end of each session, or break, and create a short action list.  Organize your action items by what you implement right away, research more, or share with someone else in your organization.

Implement what you learned

How many times have you attended a conference with the goal of making new contacts and when you return to the office you get pulled into the daily work tasks and fail to enter those contacts into your CRM or connect with them on LinkedIn? That is why it is so important to set aside time upon your return to look over all of your conference takeaways and the action list items.  Create an implementation plan and execute that plan.


This summer, I have the opportunity to attend or speak at several large social media conferences, as well as a few smaller industry specific events.  I will be deliberately following the steps above to ensure that each event is successful.  What tips do you have for making the most of conferences? I would love to hear from you below.

It would also be great to connect with others from the NISM community this summer. Share what conferences/events you will be attending and let’s try to connect.



Author: Jennifer Radke

Jennifer Radke, CEO of NISM, is a dedicated, passionate and strategic business leader with 15+ years in sales and recruitment management, leadership, coaching, development and training. Most recently, she was the owner and chief strategist at Socially Inspired, a social media training and consulting company. In addition, she is an NISM-certified Social Media Strategist (SMS), served on the board for Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota and can be found speaking and presenting to job seekers and businesses alike, on how to better utilize social media in the workplace. Jennifer believes that lifelong learning is the key to continued growth and your networks are the best way to expose yourself to new opportunities.


This post is a part of the NISM Summer of Continuing Education blog series. See the first post here.


  1. Nand

    Very useful information.
    Tips for effective networking in short time.

    • NISMadmin

      Thank you for your feedback. I hope you are able to apply some of these tips for your next conference. Jen

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