Making the Most of Your Conference Experience
EACE contribution by Lauren Giardino, Manager, Employer Relations & Recruiting Programs at Bryant University
It’s that time of year – most of the students have gone home for the summer, programming has come to an end and recruiting activity begins to wind down. In other words… you can actually take some time to breathe and reflect on another academic year coming to a close!For some of you, summer also provides the opportunity to focus on professional development. NACE offers several national and regional conferences that provide fantastic forums to connect with colleagues, share best practices and enhance your knowledge-base and skills.
Having attended my very first NACE and EACE conferences last summer, I’ve identified some tips to help both the newcomer and conference veteran alike get the most out of these wonderful experiences:
1.) Review the conference agenda in advance – take some time to read through the sessions offered and identify those that most interest you. Creating an agenda for yourself in advance will help you feel more prepared and eliminate the possibility of making hasty decisions once you arrive.
2.) Research the exhibitors – review the list of exhibitors to pinpoint any that you are interested in speaking with. Take some time to research the exhibitors you may be unfamiliar with to get a better understanding of their product/service and if you’d benefit from visiting their booth. Refer to the conference agenda to determine where the exhibitor hall is located and when it is open so you can build this time into your personal agenda.
3.) Make time for networking and connecting with attendees – these conferences are fabulous for meeting new people in the field and catching up with colleagues. Take the time to get to know other attendees and share knowledge, ideas and best practices. In addition to the material covered in the sessions, you can certainly learn a great deal from other attendees!
4.) Stay organized – come prepared with a method for keeping any materials or business cards you receive neat and organized. Things tend to get lost of destroyed through the travel process, so it is important that you develop a strategy to ensure you retain any of the important materials you accumulate throughout the conference.
5.) First-time attendee? Register to attend the newcomers lunch! – attending the newcomers lunch, offered the first day of the conference, is a great way to chat with other first-time attendees and learn more about the structure of the conference and what to expect.
6.) Have fun! – these conferences are often held in fabulous locations. Think about tacking a few additional days onto your trip to explore the local attractions and other city/state highlights. Both the EACE and NACE websites provide a full list of the various amusement, cultural and historic attractions, as well as areas for dining and shopping.
For those of you attending the EACE conference in June, I hope to see you there!
Lauren is Manager, Employer Relations & Recruiting Programs at Bryant University. She has bachelor degree from Providence College. Lauren has been with Bryant University and in her current role for 1 year and six months.