Plan to make the most of the conferences you attend

Like 4,500 other people, I’m headed to New York City for BlogHer ’12 today.

It’s my first time attending this mega-conference, and I’m just a little bit excited, especially since I get to speak! I’ll be joining Carley Knobloch and Adria Richards on the “Streamline Your Tech” panel, where we’ll be giving tips on how to do more with less technology. My focus, of course, will be all about how mompreneurs can best leverage technology to make running their households, families and businesses much easier. I’ll write a post next week that summarizes all we discuss there, so watch for it!

Be intentional

To make the most out of any conference you attend this year, you’re going to need to plan it out carefully. I’ve already given you some pointers on why you need to get away from your family and how to make returning from a trip easier on yourself. But what about how to organize yourself while you’re actually attending the conference? After all, there are so many things competing for your attention: the sessions and workshops, the networking opportunities with new contacts, the reunions with old friends, the swag from sponsors, the parties, etc.

I’d love to share with you the perfect resource to ensure that you get what you want out of the conferences you attend. Cassie Boorn, founder of the Ask a PR Girl website, has just launched an ebook called My Conference Planner. She was kind enough to include me as a resource in it and sent me a copy to review. I love it. I downloaded it, printed it out, and will be filling in the blanks while I’m on the plane today. She’s selling it for just $5 here if you’d like to grab a copy for yourself. {Disclosure–This is not an affiliate link. I’m not being compensated in any way to share this with you. I just thought Cassie did a bang-up job and find it very helpful.}

What you’ll find in My Conference Planner

This book is a collection of worksheets and resources to help you make the most of your conference experience, discover leaders in your niche and find new conferences and events to attend. In this book you will find:
  • Worksheets to help you keep track of your travel schedules, key contacts and hotel information
  • A complete packing list with everything you might need for a blogging conference
  • Worksheets to help you organize your conference schedule
  • Worksheets to help you keep track of new blogger and brand contacts as well as plan new steps
  • A list of over 200 of my favorite bloggers in over 18 niches including blogging, entrepreneurship, parenting, food, design, writing, wedding and marriage, travel, tech, photography and more.
  • A list of 47 blogging conferences organized by niche

I am also using the BlogHer ’12 app for iPhone to help me connect with many of the brands I hope to meet at BlogHer. You know how I love my technology :).

No matter which conferences you attend, just showing up isn’t going to be the best use of your precious time. Carefully consider why you’re attending the conference. Write down what you hope to get out of it, and be specific. Do you want to meet key contacts? To find new clients? To research opportunities to collaborate or partner with other mompreneurs? To find brand sponsors for your offerings? To learn from experts in your industry? All of these are possible, and they are worthwhile pursuits. By carefully planning and managing your time, you will leave having accomplished what you set out to do.

How do you prepare for and plan your conference experience? Do you have a favorite tool or app that helps you organize yourself? Please share in the comments below.

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