Spitfire Strategies

Tips for Making the Most of Your Conference Experience

Mark Dessauer

By Mark Dessauer
Vice President

Whether you’re looking to sharpen your professional skills, stay current on new tools and trends or network with thought leaders in your field, attending the right conference can move you toward your goal. But just going to the sessions and listening to speakers is only half of the experience. You can use a conference to build your network and engage in much deeper conversations than just the ten minutes allotted to Q&A after the presentations. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your conference experience:

  1. Do your homework. Figure out which sessions you will attend and make a schedule to keep you on track. If there is a speaker you’d like to connect with, do some research and approach him or her before the talk, if possible, to beat the lines afterwards.
  2. Get up early. Exercise or an early breakfast are great ways to connect with fellow attendees. Use this time to learn, rather than promote yourself. While the temptation is to sleep, you can do that on the plane ride home. The early birds may not get the worm but a three mile jog with a fellow attendee can open new levels of conversation (as long as you are not running too fast).
  3. Connect with others on social media. Join the conversation by live-tweeting using the conference hashtag and/or each session’s hashtag. Read other participants’ coverage of the conference and like or retweet comments that you find insightful and relevant. If you have access to your organization’s Twitter account, send a few tweets from that too. Lastly, make sure to review Spitfire’s guide on live-tweeting before you begin.
  4. Get noticed. Ask the right question at the right time. Think about relevant examples from your organization or in your field that are worth sharing with others.
  5. Come back better. You will gather new ideas, followers and connections. If you’re taking the train or plane home, use this time to clean up your notes and reflect on how to incorporate these new ideas into your work. Put together your top highlights in an easy-to-share brief for your colleagues. Follow up with your early morning jogging friend and take time to review what you just experienced. Don’t let this conference become just another binder on your shelf.

Tags: ,

“This is a truly transformative program and there is no question that it is preparing leaders to be courageous communicators.”

- Colleen Bailey, Executive Director, The National Steinbeck Center

Getting Your Story Covered: Tips for Top-Notch Media Pitching Part Two

Mike Carter-Conneen

By Mike Carter-Conneen

  In the first installment of this two-part series, I shared some insights from my years working in TV news and media relations, focusing on the best methods to get your pitches seen by reporters. In this part, I review some strategies for increasing the odds those reporters will actually… (read more)

Making Your Pitches Count: Tips for Top-Notch Media Pitching Part Three

Hannah Ross

By Hannah Ross
Account Executive

  Communication professionals are no strangers to the challenges that journalists are facing today, from the demands of the 24-hour news cycle to budget shortfalls and understaffed newsrooms. We respect them for their tenacity and commitment to uncovering the truth, and we value being able to build relationships with them… (read more)

Finding the Words to Champion the Greater Good

Kristen Grimm

By Kristen Grimm

  An interest in politics isn’t new to Paige Swanson, a Karel Fellow who is working at Spitfire this summer before returning to Yale University for her senior year. But what is new to Paige is using strategic communication to make the case for political and social change. “I’ve worked… (read more)

Sign up to receive Spitfire Sparks

You’ll receive our latest smarts on the causes you care about and updates on our free tools.