APU Careers & Learning Online Learning Original

Maximizing Your Education at Business Conferences

By Susan Hoffman
Contributor, Online Learning Tips

Going to a business conference is a great educational opportunity. You can hear advice from experts in your field, gain some new skills and network with other people in your industry. In addition, business conferences also provide opportunities to increase your knowledge through multiple workshops.

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But a business conference only lasts a few days. How do you ensure that you’re making the most of the education available to you in that short time?

Six Tips to Ensure You Get the Best Education from Business Conferences

There are multiple ways to ensure that you leave business conferences feeling like you’ve significantly increased your professional knowledge. Here are some tips to try:

  • Develop educational goals ahead of time. Consider how the workshops advertised by the conference organizers will aid your professional advancement. Will you hear about new products and services? Will you get training in other areas where your professional knowledge needs to grow?
  • Choose your workshops carefully. Often, there isn’t time to attend every workshop that business conferences offer. Be sure to pick the workshops covering topics that will improve your education, rather than repeat knowledge you already have.
  • After each workshop, record three key takeaways in your notebook, on your computer or in a conference app if available. Also, write down any follow-up questions you have for the speaker or jot down ideas for further research.
  • Talk with speakers, vendors and other conference attendees. Chatting with other people is a great chance to pick up free advice and trade ideas about educational resources. These chats can happen during meals, at breaks between sessions, or at the beginning or end of the conference day at the traditional receptions.
  • Pick up and read any brochures or booklets that vendors offer. Although these products are promotional in nature, they can also provide useful nuggets of professional wisdom. Be sure to get copies of the presentations as well.
  • Minimize distractions. Although it’s tempting to frequently pull out your smartphone to check your work emails or to send out social media posts, reserve that for a later time whenever possible. Stay available to talk with other conference attendees – talking with peers in your field is an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

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Whether business conferences are held locally, out of state, or in other countries, they offer wonderful opportunities to meet new people and hear new ideas. And when you return to your office, you can share that new knowledge with your managers and coworkers.

Susan Hoffman is a Managing Editor at Edge, whose articles have appeared in multiple publications. Susan is known for her expertise in blogging, social media, SEO, and content analytics, and she is also a book reviewer for Military History magazine. She has a B.A. cum laude in English from James Madison University and an undergraduate certificate in electronic commerce from American Public University.

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