Picking the Right Conference

5 Ideas For Administrative Professionals That Will Ease Decision-Making.

It’s the beginning of a new year, you have a small budget for professional development, but quickly you are overwhelmed with the number of Administrative Professional events and conferences available, not to mention work related conferences and on-line education. It can be a show stopper… the fear of choosing a program that doesn’t deliver on what is promised. When the subject of professional development comes up during my AdminUniverse™ training sessions or ACE meetings, I’m often asked what administrative professional conferences I would recommend. This is not a one answer fits all. Here are 5 Points of Wisdom (POW) you should consider when selecting your next conference or event.

POW #1 – The Real Cost of Attending

Whether this is the first or one of many administrative conferences you’ve attended, you’ll want to ensure you have the best possible experience. There is a real cost to attending conferences, including the fee, your time, travel and it all adds up to a large investment in continuing education and professional development. So, you’ll want to make the right choice.

With the variety of Administrative Professional conferences available, due diligence is needed when researching what conference best fits your needs. Here are questions you should consider when selecting what is right for you:

•  First and foremost, what are your goals for attending the conference?

•  Are networking and meeting people that have the same passion for the administrative profession of value?

•  Are you going to learn new skills?

•  Do you want to learn how to be a better partner with your leader?

•  Do you want to hear speakers that will inspire and motivate you?

•  Do you want to return to work with new ideas and skills to implement immediately?

POW # 2 – Conference & Speakers Value.

Snake oil salesman or subject matter expert, it’s important to consider who are the speakers as often they are the main value of the conference. Do they have a compelling topic that will meet your goals for attending the conference? Do your research on each speaker. Find them on YouTube if possible, to hear them speaking. Look them up on LinkedIn to see what their background is and how relevant their experience is to what you want to learn.

Once you have narrowed down your conference choices, ask your peers if they’ve ever attended the conference and would they recommend that you attend? Ask what their take-aways were from attending.

Congratulations, you’ve done your research, you’ve asked your questions, you convinced your leader on why you should attend and have received their approval. Now what?

POW #3 – Networking Secrets of the Rich and Famous

If your goal is to network with people, bring plenty of business cards with you. If you’re attending with other people from your company, don’t spend your time at the conference with them. You can connect with them at the end of the day to share experiences. Set a goal for how many people you want to meet each day and collect business cards from each of them. Jot down notes on the back of each card to remind you what you learned about them or from them.

Follow up is important, when you return to the office, send a LinkedIn or other social media connection request to them with a brief note to remind them who you are and how much you enjoyed meeting them. Try to stay connected with them over time by sharing information that you think they might be interested in and they will return the favor with you. If they’re in the same city as you, suggest an occasional lunch.

POW #4 – Journaling Your Way to Success

If your goal is to learn new skills, take notes on the handouts the conference provides or bring a notebook to journal your day. You might think by just having the handout you’ll remember what was discussed or how you wanted to implement the idea. However, after attending a 2-3-day conference, your mind will be overwhelmed with information. If it isn’t, then that is not the conference you want to attend again.

POW #5 – Show Me the Value

Understanding the investment made by your organization, it’s important to discuss the value the event brought to you and how it will benefit your leader. Start by assembling your notes to help articulate your conference experience, highlight the new information and skills you learned.  Be honest, if the conference was a bust, explain the one good idea you came back with, and how you would choose your next conference differently. Remember, if you want to attend future conferences, you need to convince your leader that the conference increased your knowledge to help you perform at a higher level.

AdminUniverse - Joanne Linden - Leadership

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, President and Master Trainer, who was an administrative professional herself, and her teaching style is grounded in authentic office experience. AdminUniverse™ can help you improve yourself, widen your skill set, and advance your career.

Connect: joanne.linden@adminuniverse.com.

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