Conferences are a fun opportunity to learn new information and meet or reconnect with professionals in your field. But they come with one downside: they can be exhausting!

Here are five items to take to your next conference for an easier, more organized event: 

  1. Water bottle. The air on planes and in hotel conference rooms is very dry and dehydration can make you tired, cranky, and less interested in learning. Take an empty water bottle through airport security. You can then fill it from a water fountain or airport restaurant on the other side.

  2. Name badge magnet. Name tags are part of conferences. But if you dislike pinning things into your clothes and despite stickers, consider ordering a magnetic tag to wear. Some conferences offer lanyards, but those can distract from jewelry or feel awkward. A magnetic name tag can be used many times for conferences and networking.

  3. Snacks. Conferences usually have food and plenty of restaurants nearby. But mealtimes might come at the wrong time for your eating habits. Plus a mid-afternoon bite of chocolate might help perk you up as the day continues.
  4. Business attire. You’re wearing professional clothing, but it’s important to choose something comfortable because you will be in it all day long, mostly seated. You may even be wearing that same outfit out to the post-party or to a pre-networking session. Consider all the activities during the conference and choose outfits accordingly. Plus, by planning in advance what to wear each day, you won’t have to think about it much as you dress each morning. We prefer not to check bags. For more information about this, check out How to Pack to Avoid Luggage Fees. It’s available in a variety of formats through Smashwords, Amazon andiBookstore.
  5. Conference attitude. Attending a conference is a change of pace, so although it’s cheesy, be sure to pack the right attitude! This includes understanding that:
  • You won’t be able to maintain a regular schedule. Eating, exercise, and sleep will be impacted. Choose your priorities. 
  • You will return with stuff. This includes physical items such as handouts, business cards and promotional materials. It also includes new ideas. Figure out a way to sort this stuff as soon as possible so it doesn’t end up sitting around your home or office. 
  • You may be disconnected. Most conferences have Wi-Fi, but you may need to ignore the outside world in order to pay attention.
  • You may need transition time upon return. Don’t schedule appointments for the day after you return if you can. Instead, catch up on administrative tasks. 

What tools do you feel are most crucial when you’re going to attend a conference? Let us know if you need help prior to or after you attend your next conference!

Photo by University of Exeter.