Sunday, June 24, 2007

Conference Survival Tips

So, are you all having a good Thursday?


Yeah. Sorry about that. See, I got all distracted with the conference I was attending, that I let that deadline slip on by. (There’s a funny saying somewhere about deadlines —something about loving the sound they make as they speed on by. That pretty much sums it up.)

So. With no further ado (or apologies) here are a list of conference survival tips. Please feel free to add your own survival tips in the comments! Us introverts can never have too many tricks up our sleeves where crowds are concerned!

  1. Give yourself time to get oriented in the hotel and understand where your room is, the meeting rooms, the elevators, and the bar dining room are. There’s nothing worse than wandering lost among throngs of people talking very loudly.

  2. Plan some down time into your conference schedule. Yes, you’ll be tempted to squeeze everything in, but then you run the risk of short-circuiting. Pick a couple of workshops or luncheons and plan on spending them alone in your room doing some recharging; yoga, a nap, deep breathing. It’s astonishing how much even an hours break can refresh you so you’re ready for the rest of the day. Yes, you will miss something, but your focus will be much sharper for the events you do attend.

  3. Consider going offsite for lunch one day, again, just to step away from the crowd.

  4. Stay hydrated. The fuzzy-headed disoriented feeling from being dehydrated is not something you need to deal with on top of the crowds. Hotel air can be really drying.

  5. Stay fueled up. Pack protein bars or nuts or some kind of snack that will help keep your blood sugar on an even keel.

  6. Try to get your normal number of hours sleep. You’re drawing on enormous energy reserves, just being in a crowd like this. Honor the toll that takes on your body.

  7. Pick an aisle seat if at all possible. That way you only have people on one side of you.

  8. Consider treating the entire experience as a conference AND retreat. Pick mornings or afternoons to attend workshops, then give yourself permission to use the other time to retire to your room and apply what you’ve learned immediately, while it’s still fresh in your mind.

So those are my survival tips. I’d love to hear some of yours!!


Anonymous said...

Robin, great tips!

I didn't think about the possibility of getting dehydrated at conferences. I bet that has contributed to my not feeling up to par at past events. Many times, I don't have correct change for the soda machines, etc. so I end up in the hotel room with nothing to drink. I will remember to bring more dollar bills and quarters next time. Thanks!

Kimberly Lynn

Mary Hershey said...

Love this entry, Robin, thanks!

Great advice about treating the event as a conference AND a retreat! And, thanks for all the good self-care advice re: hydrating, power snacking, etc.

A writer's conference can be like a big giant candy store-- you've got to learn to exercise some restraint, or you'll end up passed out at the end of it!

Mary Hershey