Making the most of a conference: planning for #cilipconf18

Next week I’ll be going to CILIP Conference 2018 – thanks to MmIT for the bursary – and it feels like a very long time since I was last at a conference. So, I’m writing myself a to do list to get myself in the right mindset to get the most out of the conference and I thought I’d share it here as it may well be useful to other attendees.

  • Find that really useful ‘conference packing list’ blog post I remember reading about 3 years ago …
  • Write ‘elevator pitch’ – i.e. when someone asks “What do you do?” what will I respond with.
  • Plan my own timetable, including:
    • Sessions to attend. I’ll be scouring the programme just like everyone else.
    • Visiting member network stands. Obviously, I’ll be going to the MmIT stand, but I’ll also be thinking about what other groups I might want to connect with.
    • Visiting the exhibition. And this year I want to make better use of my time in the exhibition hall.
    • Downtime. I know I’m unusual in that I’m perfectly happy walking up to someone, introducing myself and starting a conversation – and I really enjoy it. But I know from previous experience, if I go to all the sessions and network at every break, by the end of the day I will be exhausted and not able to function very well. Last time I went to the CILIP conference I was too tired to enjoy the evening social and left as soon as I’d eaten; I regret missing out. This time, I’ll make sure I schedule myself some downtime so I can choose what I miss.
  •  List of exhibitors to speak to. I’ve never planned this in advance before, and have just wandered round the exhibition hall to see who’s there. This time I’ll be looking to see if any of our current suppliers will be there, and who else I might be interested in speaking to – hopefully this means I’ll make better use of my time in the exhibition hall.
  • List of people I want to talk to. Now this is another one I haven’t done before, and to some extent will rely on me being able to find out who else will  be at the conference. I’d like to find out if there are people who are working in similar roles to me, or who are/have worked on projects I’m interested in who I’d like to talk to.
  • Write an about me blog post. The aim of this is really to help anyone else doing the point above. I now feel like I have enough experience that people might be interested in talking to me. This will be somewhere for me to tell them what I’ve done and what I’m interested in.

How similar is this to your pre-conference to do list? Is there anything you think I’ve missed?

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