It’s officially Fall which means it’s officially conference season. Personally, I love conferences. They’re a great opportunity to learn as well as network and make new connections. I just attended the Digital Summit in Detroit and learned so much. But in order to fully take advantage of your conference and truly enjoy yourself, you have to be prepared. With the large number of upcoming women’s conferences and business conferences, you want to be well prepared. Whether you’re attending the Great Lake’s Women’s Business Conference, the S.H.E Summit or the Inc.’s Women’s Summit, you want to be sure to have your conference survival kit well stocked and ready to go, because, really, not being prepared can make those all day conferences down right miserable. Here are a few of my suggestions on what to pack in your conference survival kit:
1. A nice roomy bag:
First things first, you want a nice roomy bag to store all your essentials in. Not so roomy that everything falls into the bottom of the purse black hole, but enough room where everything isn’t squeezed together like a can of sardines.
2. A Note pad:
Personally, I prefer to take notes with a good old note pad and paper. I’ve gotten completely lazy and can’t be bothered with lugging a laptop around. While many conferences will provide branded note pads and pens for attendees, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
3. Smart phone:
If you’re anything like me, the smart phone is a given; like you’d actually leave home without it (and even if you did, you’d be very tempted to go back and get it).
Aside from taking notes, it’s useful for writing information on the back of business cards. Again, most conferences will provide branded pens, but it doesn’t hurt to have your own.
We’ve all been there – it’s 3pm, your stomach is growling, you’ve got another two hours of presentations to go before the end of the day and that complementary coffee and water just isn’t cutting it. Your only other option is to buy something very unhealthy from the vending machine/convenience store, at highway robbery prices. Bring a snack and you can avoid this whole unpleasant situation altogether.
6. Business cards:
Don’t forget your business cards. I know there’s new technology out there, like SpinCard, that makes business cards unnecessary, but again, it’s better to be safe than sorry. And if someone at the conference is doing a business card raffle giveaway, you at least need one for that.
7. Green tea:
I love my coffee as much as the next woman, but after about the second cup I get a little twitchy. Green tea is a great alternative to give you that little pep to get you through the end of a long day.
8: Lip balm:
With all the coffee and water drinking, you’ll need it.
At some point you’re going to eat lunch. Unless you’ve got mouthwash, you’ll need something to freshen your breath for post conference networking. And believe me, your fellow attendees will appreciate it.
I like to have my iPad mini handy just to check e-mails and social media. Anything to help save my phone’s battery life.
I almost never carry cash, but at conferences is where I make an exception – there’s nothing worse than getting to the parking garage/structure only to find out they only accept cash.
That’s my list of conference essentials. What do you pack in your conference survival kit?