Attending a seminar can be an educational as well as an enjoyable experience. Here are a few things to remember to take when you’re packing for a conference.
An old-fashioned notebook and a pen. You won’t remember everything. And though buying CDs can be a good idea, you may or may not listen to them when you get home.
By having notes you’ll have something to refer to when you’re back in the office.
Plus, the act of writing the information down will help you retain it better, even if you never refer to the notes. It’s true that you can also type these into a smart phone, but as far as the speaker knows you’re simply texting while he’s talking. A regular pen and paper still gives the appearance of note taking instead of “not paying attention.”
The most important reason to take notes is this; when you’re in an atmosphere of motivation and creative energy, it’s easy for ideas to pop into your head. You might think of how what the speaker is talking about can be tweaked a little and used in your own company. The idea might not even be related to what the speaker is saying.
Don’t tell yourself that you’re going to remember these great ideas. Write them down immediately.
Business Cards – You know that all the networking books tell you to collect other peoples cards, don’t just hand out your own. This is true, of course, but everyone else has read the same books so they’re going to be asking for a card. Nothing says “unprofessional” like “Ummm….I don’t have any cards on me right now”.
An extra set of clothes – Always take a few more clothes than you think you will need. For women, take a sweater in case the conference rooms are freezing cold. Men should take an extra suit in case a problem occurs with spills, etc. Take a few casual clothes in case an opportunity for some sight-seeing opens up one afternoon or evening. This includes some comfortable walking shoes.
Healthy snacks – When your sugar level is low you’ll have no energy and won’t be able to focus on what the presenters are saying. Make sure you try and eat regular meals and get plenty of sleep. But also, take some nuts or energy bars along with you so you’ll have them in case of an emergency.
Laptop or cell phone - This lets you answer emails in the evenings so you’re not swamped once you get back to the office.
Extra cash – There may be books or CDs for sale that could be beneficial to your career. It might be worth the money to invest in a few. Plus, restaurant charges, taxi cabs, etc. can all add up so be prepared. Of course the worst case scenario is when the hotel puts a hold on your credit card (even though your company prepaid for your room) or some other unforeseen problem occurs. You don’t want to be left stranded with a shut down credit card and no cash.
Remembering to take along these few items can help you have an enjoyable, stress-free seminar experience.