With the REAL Leadership Academy right around the corner, we wanted to reshare this post that provides some great tips for attending a conference, originally posted on February 3, 2015.

Conferences are a great way to get feedback on ideas, network with other sisters and have a bit of fun. They also require a long weekend away from school, work and family which means you will want to get the most out of your time. Here are our best tips for attending a conference:  

  1. Practice introducing yourself - You are going to be meeting lots of new people at every conference you attend. Be able to give an abbreviated version of who you are, where you're from and what you do. This is the first impression someone will have of you, so make sure you can introduce yourself with confidence.  
  2. Connect with presenters - Don't be afraid to reach out to a presenter that left an impact, or approach them with questions. They are experts in their fields and have years of experience under their belts. They are there because they want to share their knowledge, so don't hesitate to chat them up between sessions or during meal times.   
  3. Use social media - Throughout a conference there may be several opportunities to utilize social media. Don't be afraid to tweet or Instagram using the conference hash tags. Be sure to like, follow or retweet posts; this is a great way to interact with other conference attendees. 
  4. Swap contact information - Don't let the conference be the last time you interact with any new connections you make. Try your best to get her contact information on the spot by swapping business cards, finding each other on social media or adding their information in your phone. If you forget to get contact information remembering names will be important. Every time you meet someone new repeat their name out loud in conversation several times, especially when you are saying goodbye. This lets your new contact know you are listening, confirms that you are pronouncing her name correctly and helps you store her name in your memory bank.  
  5. Be prepared to share - Attending a conference is the perfect way to reenergize, but to really make it valuable you will need to be prepared to bring back any information and ideas to members who didn't get to attend. Knowing that you will need to relay important content from the conference to your chapter back home will keep you engaged during the conference.