Conference Survival Guide
Here at Athennian, we love any chance that we get to meet new people in the industry, especially if we think they’d love our software as much as we do. We’re always on the hunt for great conferences to attend, and this month we’re headed to ILCO.
We know that attending a conference can be really exciting, but there are so many people and so much is going on. So we’ve created this brief conference survival guide so you can make the most out of ILCO, or any conference you’re attending.
What will you find in this post?
- How to make the most out of a conference
- What to wear to a conference
- What to put in your conference day bag
If you’re headed to ILCO, don’t forget to come visit us. Head to the bottom of this post to find out how you can get your hands on an Athennian owl, along with details on how to enter our draw to win a Kate Spade bag!
How to make the most out of a conference
There are a lot of things going on at a conference, way more than you can tackle in the short time you’re there. So, how do you make the most of it?
Set an out of office
If you over commit yourself by trying to work while you’re attending a conference, chances are you’ll miss out on the valuable knowledge and connections you are there for in the first place. If you can’t outright forego checking your email, set specific times that you’ll review it (and stick to them).
Review the conference agenda
Take some time before you arrive to review the agenda and see what else is going on during the conference. Make note of anything you might want to check out. While you don't want to over structure your conference time and miss out on any spontaneous opportunities, having a bit of a plan ahead of time will help make sure you get to do what you want.
Arrive and register early
There’s no such thing as fashionably late in the conference world. In these conference walls, the early bird gets the worm. So get there as early as you can. Not only will you get a chance to take in the lay of the land, but you’ll get the best swag from vendors too, so make sure to drop by and say hi!
Play the conference field by switching it up. Instead of sticking with the same people the entire conference, try hanging out at a few different tables and meeting new conference goers. That way you’ll have a chance to meet new people and get different perspectives on the conference.
If you have colleagues or friends headed to the conference with you, spilt up and exchange notes. While it’s great to hang out with people you know, if you split up you’ll be able to cover more ground and share information. Just make sure to set aside some time to meet up so you have a chance to discuss!
What to wear to a conference
Conferences tend to be a business casual setting. While they’re typically professional in nature, they also have a vacation from your regular workday vibe, which usually means they sit on the slightly more casual side of business casual.
While you still want to dress professionally, you need to take into consideration the fact that you’ll be sitting, standing and walking around all day. So, while you want to be professional, you also want to be comfortable.
Ditch the heels for a pair of comfortable flats or clean, neutral slip-ons (like Toms). You want your conference shoes to be comfortable enough that you don’t have sore feet after wandering around the vendor hall all afternoon and meeting people during the downtimes.
Air conditioning could be a problem if you tend to run on the cooler side. With so many people in the hall, the venue is likely to have the air conditioning turned up which could leave you with a bit of a chill. Pack a nice sweater that you can put on and take off easily to ensure you’re the most comfortable temperature for you.
Casual comfortable pants
Conferences often mean sitting and walking for long periods of time, so you’ll want to be in pants that aren’t too tight or too dressy.
What to put in your conference day bag
Packing your conference day bag can be a challenge—you don’t want to cart around an unnecessary amount of things, but you also don’t want to be caught without something you need. Here are a few things you might want to consider bringing along:
An external battery pack
If you’re bringing along a tablet, your phone or another electronic device, an external battery pack is great to have in your bag. You can charge your device by simply plugging it into the pack—no outlet needed.
You’re going to be around a lot of people all day long in a very public space, so you’ll want to keep the germs away. Hand sanitizer can be a quick and easy way to fight off those germs in a pinch.
A small pack of Kleenex
You don’t want to be caught without a Kleenex when you need one, so it’s a smart idea to pack along one of those small individual-sized packs of facial tissue.
Notebook and pen
Chances are if you’re attending a session, you’ll want to make sure you have a pen and notebook handy. Or, if you’d prefer, you could cart along a tablet or other electronic device that will allow you to take notes.
This goes without saying, but we thought we’d mention it anyway. If you’re headed to a conference, make sure to bring a stack of business cards that you can exchange. You could even bring along a business card holder to store the ones you receive.
Instant stain remover
There’s nothing worse than getting a splotch of sauce on a light-coloured piece of clothing. It’s especially maddening if you’re in a rush and aren’t able to stop somewhere and clean it properly or change. That’s where a stain removing pen comes in.
They work great to clean up small messes and having one handy in your conference day bag can ensure you don’t miss a beat.
A small snack
While there’s probably food kicking around somewhere, it’s not going to help you when you’re in the middle of a session and realize you’re hungry. Even if you don’t eat it throughout the conference, it’ll make you feel better simply having it!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! It's smart to carry around a refillable bottle of water in your bag.
Are you headed to ILCO?
Athennian is going to be at ILCO, and we’d love to hang out with you!
Kenny and I will be hanging out, chatting with conference goers, giving demos of the Athennian software and taking suggestions. And we’re bringing giveaways.
The first 50 people to book a demo with us will get a plushy, cuddly version of Athennian’s owl mascot, so book now!
Athennian was built based on suggestions and requests from paralegals and law clerks, and we are always looking for ways to improve. We want a chance to reward you for helping us make Athennian better so that it works for you, so everyone who participates in a demo and gives us feedback will be entered into our prize draw for a Kate Spade bag. Simply book your demo or drop by!