What I Learned From Attending My First Conference

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If you are following me on Instagram and checked out my Instagram stories last week, then you know that I was attending a conference for work in Orlando. It was my very first work conference I have ever attended. In the past, I’ve gone to career fairs on behalf of my companies but I have never gone to a conference until now.

I learned so much from my first conference and how to better prepare for them in the future, so I thought that I would share what I learned so all you #girlbosses can SLAY your next conference 😉

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#1 Plan Out Your Outfits

This is one of my favorite travel hacks in general and it really came in handy for the conference. A few days before you leave, write down some outfit options and write out the different days you’ll be at the conference. Once you have some outfit options written down, put them under a specific day and then use that list when you’re actually packing for the conference. Your time spent packing will be significantly less if you plan out your outfit options in advance!
Here are some of my favorite pieces to help you pack for your next conference 🙂

#2 Review The Different Workshops You Want to Go To

The conference that I went to had soooo many speakers and different workshops (some of them happening at the same time), so it was crucial to figure out what workshops interested me and which ones to attend. If you have a planner or a copy of the agenda, make note of which ones you want to go to and what time they’re at so you know your schedule for the day.
If you’re traveling with other co-workers, you can always plan out which ones you’ll go to together or which ones you can split up for. Plus, if there are two workshops that you want to go to but they’re at the same time – you and a co-worker can split up and then compare notes after the workshops!

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#3 Check Out the Food Arrangements Ahead of Time

I loveee food so much and when I’m traveling, I want to try as many restaurants as I can! A lot of conferences typically have breakfasts and lunches prepared for you throughout the event, but it’s good to know if they will ahead of time so you can plan accordingly.
Make note of what meals you’ll need to get on your own and which ones will be provided by the conference you’re attending (if any). If you’re staying at a resort, see how many restaurants are in the resort or what is close by. I highly recommend downloading the TripAdvisor app so you can see what restaurants are close to you, it’s always a lifesaver when I’m traveling!

#4 Bring These Helpful Items!

There were many things that I ended up bringing that I was SOO happy I had with me. Staying at a hotel can mean that you don’t have all the accommodations you have when you’re at home, so make sure that you are prepared ahead of time! Here’s a list of some helpful items to bring with you on your next conference:

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Conference Packing Tips | How to Prepare for a Conference | What I Learned from My First Conference | The Sophisticated Gal

#5 Have FUN & Meet People!

This is the most important tip! At a conference, take time to meet new people. If you’re shy – break out of your comfort zone and NETWORK! There are so many interesting people in this world and you never know when a new opportunity could happen because of the people you met. Take time to go to the happy hours after the conference or chat with someone you’re sitting next to at a workshop…just be social and believe me you will walk away with a few new friends!
Don’t forget your business cards either, they are such an easy way to exchange contact information and follow up with the person after the conference.
Make sure your LinkedIn is also up-to-date before the conference! I put together some tips to help you with improving your LinkedIn, check them out here.

Now, I want to hear from YOU!

Have you attended a conference before? If so, what additional tips do you have for anyone going to a conference?

Conference Packing Tips | What I Learned from My First Conference | The Sophisticated Gal

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26 Comments

  1. I am totally buying that wrinkle spray for my blog conference I’m going to in August! such great tips!

  2. Thank you so much for these tips! I’m planning on going to a conference next year, and I want to get ready now. I didn’t know about the existence of that Downy release spray.

  3. I go to a lot of beauty conferences and I always make sure I have a mobile charger because most brands ask you to post on social media. I also learned to always bring business cards and dress presentable, you never know who you’re going to meet.

  4. I always use Trip Advisor and Yelp when I’m traveling somewhere new to make sure I make the most of the trip. You seem like a planner like me, so here’s my favorite tip–go through Trip Advisor or Yelp before your trip, bookmarking the restaurants and other things you want to make sure to try. Then once you’re there, you can open a map and it’ll literally show you all of your bookmarks right around where you’re standing!

  5. I’m going to my first business conference in two weeks so this came at the perfect time. Definitely going to pick up some wrinkle spray prior to the trip.

  6. I loved going to conferences, when I had the opportunity. I refuse to check bags so I always try to travel with a color scheme so I can mix and match outfits, while pairing it with accessories. I also make sure I keep a journal and I take notes in Cornell Notes style so I can see the topics later. Glad you enjoyed!

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