5 Things You Need to Know Before Attending Your Next Conference
Great news! Your manager just said you can attend the conference! So, how do you prepare? I’ve pulled together a list of handy tips I’ve compiled over the years to get the most out of my conference experiences. Here’s what I’m planning to do to maximize my time at Building Business Capability (BBC).
In case you are not aware, Building Business Capability is the only conference that provides insight into Business Analysis, Business Architecture, Business Process, Business Rules, Business Decisions, Business Strategy & Transformation, and Digital Innovation toward the pursuit of business excellence. Since 2008, more than 12,000 BA professionals have attended from North America, Europe, South Africa, Australia and Asia to hear from countless influencers and practice experts.
Best of all, these tips work for any size event:
1. Secure the Logistics:
- Will your company pay for the conference registration? If so, what other expenses will they cover? Ask for this information in an email.
- Offer to do a presentation when you return for not having to take vacation or personal time off.
- Make hotel reservations as soon as possible to secure a room at the conference site.
- Drive or fly? If flying make reservations as soon as possible. If driving, is your car reliable or do you need to rent a car?
- Arrange for child care, pet care or any other family matters while you are away.
- Assemble your wardrobe, business casual is always a wise choice.
- Spike heels do not go well with conferences, make sure you bring comfortable shoes.
2. Review Conference Agenda:
- What sessions do you want to attend?
- Allow enough time to do this. BBC unveils their agenda over several months. A local conference may only take one hour or so to make selections.
- Do your homework and check out the speakers on LinkedIn, Twitter, other conference websites and talk to friends.
3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone:
- Sit by and eat meals with people you don’t know.
- Attend a presentation that is out of your normal skill set.
- Try to mix sessions of soft skills along with the technical tools and core skills.
- Don’t overdo it, take a one-hour break in the afternoon to recharge. This is crucial at a conference with several sessions in one day.
4. Visit with the Vendors:
- Secure cool swag, score a new tool, sign up for a class.
- Let the vendors scan your badge for prize drawings.
- Many conferences have a passport to encourage visiting all the vendors. The passport drawings usually are for the most valuable prizes.
- Enter your name in all other drawings, you can’t win if you don’t enter.
5. Network, Network, Network:
- Talk to anyone you see; you never know what that five-minute talk may lead to.
- You might meet your next boss, your next business partner, future wife, future husband or just a good friend.
- You will expand your horizons by spending time with people from all around the world.
- The best thing to take home is at least one thing you can start using the day you return to work. This might be a tool, technique, process or many other things.
- The people you meet and the friendships formed and renewed are priceless!
As IIBA’s Global Chapter Council (GCC) Chair, I am always excited to see GCC team members as I normally only see them virtually. This year I will also get to meet a few of my teammates in person for the first time. Meeting and spending time with Chapter Leaders is one of the biggest perks for me at BBC.
There’s still time to register! Come join us at BBC (IIBA members get a discount), expand your knowledge, and have a ton of fun! Who knows, we might even meet each other there.