5 Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Next Conference
Trainers | October 10, 2019
How do you know you’re making the most out of your conference experience? We asked the experts! We surveyed attendees at the Trainer and RBPD Summit in Breezy Point, MN this year. Read on for the top five tips shared.
1. Be Present. Don’t just show up physically, be there with your mind and body. If your mind is somewhere else, such as thinking about all of the things you need to do on Monday when you return to work, you are not fully present.
Amanda Martins says, “Try to leave distractions at the door.” Turn off your phone, better yet – leave it in the car if you are able. Make sure your family, friends, and co-workers know they will not be able to reach you during the conference sessions.
“Be open to going beyond hearing and be ready to listen,” suggests Joyce McQuiston. “Practice the ‘pause’ for yourself and others to listen, share and grow.”
2. Connect. Think about the children you work with on a daily basis. You would encourage them to make new friends, so why not take your own advice? Introduce yourself to those sitting around you. Go up to the trainer before or after each training and introduce yourself.
“Engage to the fullest! Colleagues have so much to share and it is sometimes challenging to connect with people who have shared interests or goals,” Karen Foster-Jorgensen said. “The more we network, the more we contribute to our field!”
3. Be Open & Ask Questions. “Go in with an open mind and look for one new idea or one validation of work you already do or one practice to do differently,” Mary Muhs recommends. “You do not need to come out a changed person, but only with one new perspective for it to be successful.”
Even if it isn’t in your nature to do so, asking questions during trainings can be both helpful and empowering. These can be as simple as asking for clarification on something or asking for an example of how to implement a strategy being discussed. If something isn’t clear to you, chances are it isn’t clear to others in the room.
4. Make a Plan. Angela Kapp says, “Find ways to apply the info you learn and make an action plan.” At the end of each session, take a moment to write down 1-3 action steps you’d like to take based on the information you learned. Examples could include:
- Talk to the Director about implementing more play-based learning into the classroom.
- Research trainings on play-based learning for staff to attend.
5. Take Action. This is the most easily forgotten step for many. Carrie Johnson says, “Make an implementation plan.” So often we attend a conference and then when we return to work the next day or the following week, we have so much to catch up on that we find ourselves not implementing any of the concepts we learned. Don’t let this happen to you. You’ve made action steps, now take action!