During a conference, there are ideas, people, social networks, and business cards flying around every which way. Take note. Remember going to slumber parties as a child? Besides the cake, new toys to play with, and an extra long recess with your friends…you took home a goody bag. You gave a gift, and in return, you got a gift.. The kids who gave out the coolest stuff in their goody bags were the coolest kids in school that week. Conferences may seem overwhelming at times, but remember you are there to take home a goody bag of information. Think of conferences as an adult slumber party. You are there to get all of these gifts of information, tips, and trick…but you are also there to give gifts after. Share, share, share and be the kid with the coolest after-conference goody bag. There are several ways to take note at a conference. If you read our last blog, you know Twitter is a great way to do it. However, if you are not an avid tweeter, or feel you do not belong in the twittershphere, there are other ways to get word out about your conference experience.
Here are 5 of our ideas:
1. Twitter. Check out this blog to find out how to optimize your conference tweeting experience, get more followers, as well as tips and tools.
2. Blog. Don’t just blog once about the conference, either. Blog your experience each night, like a journal. Blog about people you have met or new things you have learned. People will appreciate your insights. Blog about specific things (a new product, invention, statistic, or program you were informed about or learned new facts about). Specific blogs will draw in people all over the net looking for just what you have to offer. Last, make sure you blog highlights, if nothing else. Highlighting your experience at a conference can take your blog to greener pastures and expand your network. Remember you are there to network, shake hands, be inspired, share ideas, and listen.
3. Tumblr. A lot of businesses are on Tumblr. There is even a dad famous for highlighting all of his son’s embarrassing moments on Tumblr. Tumblr is, yes a blog, but many companies have a blog and a Tumblr. Use them differently, and link between the two. Tumblr, if you are not familiar, is to traditional blogging as Twitter is to Facebook. It’s a microblog of sorts, and is known for smaller posts…pictures, videos, quotes, audio clips and links. Tumblr has not yet broken into higher education, so be at the top of the list. Share your Tumblr on Twitter, Facebook, and your blog. Make sure your Tumblr is made ahead of time, and specifically created for the conference. Florida International University, for example, has a Tumblr. They use it as a casual conversation between hopeful future students, and admissions. They also use the anonymous “ask button,” to answer questions and concerns from future students as well as current students.
4. Facebook. Ok, Facebook is not the same as Twitter. You can’t post a new thing every 15 minutes about the conference, or you will lose friends and followers. If a Tweet is good for 15 minutes, a post on Facebook can last a few hours. This is what makes Facebook a bad tool for taking notes. However, you can and should use Facebook at a conference, especially if you have most of your followers there. Instead of taking notes on Facebook, point your friends on FB to your Twitter, Blog, Tumblr, YouTube, or whatever platform(s) you are avidly using. This lets your interested friends read up, and keeps the friends who are not interested away from a flooded news feed of long notes and conference humor.
5. Visual/YouTube. Assuming the conference you are using permits the use of video, YouTube is a great idea. However, I wouldn’t solely use it. People want insight and small clips may not do the trick. Use YouTube as a way to add to your blog, Twitter (Vine works too), Facebook, or Tumblr. There are several ways to do this.
Idea 1: Take a stop motion video of your 1st day. It’s easy to do and offers a great visual tool for your blog post that highlights that day.
Idea 2: Take small clips throughout the day for your Tumblr. Match the video with an interesting quote or piece of inspiration from the moment.
Idea 3: Combine a series of small clips together after the conference. Title it “my favorite (Conference name) moments". Add it to a blog. There is an infinite amount of things you can do with a video these days.
We have all of these great tools, and search engines love when we use as many as possible. So use them. We also all have smartphone. This allows us to work on multiple platform throughout the day. We don’t have to walk around with chunky laptops to Tweet, Tumblr, or Facebook. Those things can be done at the conference so you can leave the laptop in the hotel, until you sum it up each night.
And, remember to have fun.
5 ways to reduce conference stress and take note:
1. Charge up. Make sure you ring spare batteries, charging cords, or whatever you need to keep the power on. There is nothing worse than loosing your ability to take notes at a conference.
2. Plan ahead for before and after. Have a goal for the conference and the ability to meet it. Also, plan for your next steps after the conference. Who do you need to contact/ follow up with? Know which booths and sessions you want to hit up before you even arrive.
3. Taking note does not mean being anti-social. You are using social networks as a way to take notes so that you can meet people with ideas, business, or useful tools. If someone replies to a blog or a Facebook post…get back to him or her. Taking notes does not mean being anti-social, infact it’s a way to meet more people.
4. Remember why you are there. There are many reasons for going to a conference and as the stress of being there approaches; it becomes easy to get lost in the craziness. If you are there to find a new software developer, for example…don’t take your eye off the ball. People are social at conferences, so be social, but don’t forget who or what you are looking to accomplish.
5. Make some memories. Sure, there is a lot going on, but it is a great opportunity and you may even be getting paid to be there. So soak it all in, smile a lot, and get as much as you can from the experience.