Community Recommendations: Tips for During the Conference

In-person conferences and events have so many new ideas to explore, new tools and approaches to check out, new people to meet, and new conversations to have. In this post, a number of long-time eLearning Guild event attendees shared how they keep from being overwhelmed, stay refreshed, and get more out of the experience.

Have your own tips to add? Be sure to include them in the comments!

Photo of Nick FloroReminder to be present. You invested in attending the conference, now throw your full energy behind it. Be sure to attend the keynotes, sessions, and connect with your peers. There are so many opportunities for you to learn and grow.

Nick Floro, Learning Architect & CEO, Sealworks Interactive Studios

Photo of Jean Marrapodi

I create three lists for each conference, separate from my notes:

Keepers List: Identify one key thing that you are taking from each workshop/keynote that you attend. At the end of the conference, when your brain is flooded, you’ll have a set of the nuggets you want to remember.

Action Items: Use it to jot down the things you want to apply when you get back to the office. Whether you do this in an app, or on paper, having it separated out lets you find it to take action on it

People: Create a list of people you meet, and Link-In with them to build your network. Consider what you might be able to help them with, as well as how they might help you in the future. Take a selfie with them so you remember who they are.

Jean Marrapodi, Chief Learning Architect, Applestar Productions

Megan TorranceBuy books at the conference! I know everybody wants to buy them on Amazon and not have to carry them home, but I’m the sort of person who forgets to do that. And having a vibrant book store at the conference is a nice plus.

Megan Torrance, CEO and founder, TorranceLearning

Photo of Jean Marrapodi

Conferences are as much about the people you meet as the workshops you attend.

  • Initiate conversations. Don’t wait for people to talk to you. Sit down next to someone new at every workshop and introduce yourself.
  • Many people come to this conference alone, so find a dinner buddy or two and have fun with a new friend.
  • Bring a challenge that you’re working on and pick some brains about ways you might approach it with the new people you meet

Jean Marrapodi, Chief Learning Architect, Applestar Productions

Photo of Kevin ThornThis is probably the most valuable part of attending a conference. The people you meet may just become your best friend! The sessions and information presented is tremendous in and of itself, but making connections with people who are there for the same reasons you are could lead to helping each other after the conference. Introduce yourself, talk to vendors at the Expo, or stay a few minutes after a session to meet and talk with the presenter.

Kevin Thorn, Chief NuggetHead and Owner, NuggetHead Studioz

Photo of Melissa MillowayWhen I meet someone at a conference I usually look them up on LinkedIn right away. It’s an easy way to learn more about someone and ask them insightful questions about their job or background.

Melissa Milloway, Senior Instructional Designer, Amazon

Photo of Kevin ThornWhen receiving business cards or the like, jot done a few notes about the conversation you just had with them. Having those notes will help you remember who you spoke with after returning home in a flurry of post-conference excitement.

Kevin Thorn, Chief NuggetHead and Owner, NuggetHead Studioz

Photo of Nick FloroBe sure to take pictures and jot down notes about what you like and what you want to dive deeper into. Use them as a reminder and share them with your team and the community. One of my favorite apps to use while attending Learning Solutions is Microsoft’s Office Lens. It’s free for iOS and Android, auto-corrects pictures to square off the sides, and makes it easier to read, share and capture information.

Nick Floro, Learning Architect & CEO, Sealworks Interactive Studios

Photo of Tracy ParishIf a session doesn’t meet your learning needs or isn’t quite what you thought it was going to be, it’s okay to leave. You won’t interrupt and you’re not being rude. You’ve invested a lot time and money to be at a conference and you want to get the most out of it.

If you’re unsure when entering a session, just sit a little more to the back or on an isle so you can step out if you need to.

Tracy Parish, Education Technology Specialist, Southlake Regional Health Centre

Photo of Colin WelchGetting outside of the conference venue occasionally is always important to me – seeing the sun and getting some fresh air can help you to re-energize (and for me helps me tackle the jet lag of coming over to the US for conferences!).

Colin Welch, Director of Product Development, Brightwave Group

Photo of Jennifer MurphyA note of caution when leaving the conference and hotel –  take off your badge (and company shirt if you’re wearing one) and don’t use your conference bag. It can make you look like a tourist and bad guys sometimes target tourists.

Jennifer Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, Quantum Improvements Consulting

Photo of Jean MarrapodiIt’s ok to take some down time. Many first-time conference goers cram something in every minute of the day. It’s really ok to take a break.

Jean Marrapodi, Chief Learning Architect, Applestar Productions


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