How to make the most of your next creative conference
Any other Conference Junkies in the house? 🙋🏽 As a frequent conference attendee (and now a creative conference speaker!), I’ve learned a lot about the conference experience. Today, I’m sharing my best tips to make the most out of your next creative conference!
I think conferences and workshops are a little like Lay’s potato chips… you can’t attend just one! Who doesn’t love connecting with new friends, exploring new cities, and getting inspired by your favorite speakers?!
You know how much I value education—especially in your business. Education is a valuable investment in your business that nobody can take away from you. It sets you apart, inspires you to move forward, and helps you serve clients well.
No matter how much success you find in business, there’s always room to grow and learn. There are always new people to meet and new inspirations to be uncovered.
But (as anyone who has attended a conference can tell you)… conferences can be overwhelming. There is so much information packed into a short time span. And at the same time, you’re supposed to be meeting people, experiencing the culture of the city, and soaking up all the wisdom for your business.
Over the years, I’ve attended dozens of conferences—big and small. Today, I’m sharing the tips I wish someone had shared with me.
So how can you make the most out of your next conference?
I’ve got you covered! After attending dozens of workshops, conferences, and retreats… these are my best tips for a rewarding experience:
- Do your research. 🤓 Who is speaking at the conference? Is there a Facebook Group for attendees? Do a little research beforehand (by research, I basically mean: creep their website and insta-stalk them until you feel like besties).
That way, you’ll be able to recognize who’s who at the conference, and you’ll be prepared to ask good questions if you get to meet in person.
- Book a longer stay. ✈ Part of the attraction of a big conference is the location. Are you traveling to an exciting new destination? I got news for ya: you probably won’t see much of it—unless you plan a longer stay!
Conferences are packed with busy schedules… and even the “down time” listed on the agenda can be misleading. During “free time,” you’ll probably make plans with new friends, stick around to meet your favorite speakers, or take a much-needed nap after a draining day… not much time for sightseeing.As my friend and fellow Conference Junkie (and talented photographer) Quianna Marie would say: “If we only stay for two days, that’s basically just a layover!” Do yourself a favor, and book an extra night at that hotel, if you can. You’ll really get to experience both the conference and the city where it’s hosted.
- Define your goals. 💡 What do you want to get out of this experience? New industry connections? Motivation to start the next chapter of your business? Time to rejuvenate your creativity? Be honest with yourself. Keep your goals in mind throughout the conference. (tell a friend your goals if you need accountability!)
- Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. 🤝 A huge part of the conference experience is meeting fellow attendees. It can be hard to say hello and break the ice; but it’s worth it. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to various groups at the conference, and be open to meeting new friends who share your interests (there’s gotta be another cat mom out there, right?).
- Write it down. 🖋 It sounds obvious! But I mean it: not just taking notes during keynotes or breakout sessions (although you should do that too). Take ten minutes of “alone time” to write in a journal. At a minimum, jot down the three things that had the greatest impact on you that day.At the event, you’ll be on a “conference high,” filled with ideas and motivation. Don’t let that feeling slip away as soon as you board the plane home. Let your journal be a reminder and motivator to help keep momentum long after your bags have been unpacked.
- Follow up. 💌 Were you blown away by a particular speaker? Did you meet someone and totally want to be their new best friend? Follow up with the people who made an impression on you. Send a handwritten thank you note after the event, or shoot an email to new friends to stay in touch. Even better? Book the next conference together!
So, if I haven’t convinced you yet… what are you waiting for?! Get out there and sign up for a conference.
You won’t regret it—especially with these tips in mind!
And if you’re looking for an education experience filled with connection, community, and restoration… you’ll definitely want to take a look at The Next Level Retreat—a workshop experience I’m offering to photographers who are ready to reach the next level in their business. We’ll have a slumber party in the Waco Barndominium, visit all things Magnolia, and hear from keynote speaker Natalie Franke! Hop on over to this link to learn more!
In the meantime, be sure to check out an upcoming photography conference opportunity: I’m honored to be a creative conference speaker at ShowIt United this year, and I would love to see you there! ShowIt United was one of the first conferences I ever attended as a new photographer, and it remains one of my favorites to this day. They’re hosting an incredible four-day experience that I guarantee will change your business for the better!