Conferences: Etiquette and How To
My University department is sending me to two conferences this year (!!) one in Denver, Colorado and one in Houston, Texas. Additionally, I got two scholarships to conferences in D.C and Las Vegas for the summertime. The one in Denver was a little bit more casual, and in preparation for this upcoming conference in Washington D.C that's a lot more professional and gives a better chance for networking, I've developed an etiquette and how to guide for tackling conferences as well as networking for a college student. Read on to find out more. Flights and Hotels:
- If you are flying out to the venue make sure to coordinate with someone at the University/Scholarship office OR if you are paying for everything on your own, contact the conference and see if they have any good options for hotels and/ or flights.
- Know what dates you are flying out on and back on. Making sure you have these specifications before you fly or even book anything is super important.
- Be prepared for a red eye. Due to how far away the airport was from where the actual convention was in Colorado, I was forced to take a red eye flight from Denver to my hometown. I won't lie, it wasn't that fun, but it was manageable and caffeine is wonderful.
- Always bring at least one professional outfit and one casual outfit. I tended to go for casual in Denver because it was in the mountains, but I know for the rest of the conferences I'll dress professionally most of the time.
- Follow the dress code. This applies especially for any foreign countries or communities where the dress code is very important.
- Bring different pairs of shoes and prepare for the unexpected. I always bring a pair of heels, flats, and tennis shoes because I never know what the situation will call for.
- Plan your outfits with your schedule if you can. This makes things much easier for you.
- Get a look at the event schedule if you can and plan the events you want to attend.
- Bring business cards - I know they are kinda antiquated, but they really help make sure you can keep in touch with other people.
- Remember this is a professional event and act as such. Don't drink, do drugs, or do anything that could compromise the reputation and image of the organization you are there to represent.
- If you have an allergy or dietary restriction, contact the organizers to make sure you have food you can eat. If that's not possible, bring your own snacks and make sure you have the medications you need.
- Be prepared to meet a lot of people - some nice and some not so nice. It is important you keep your head and make sure you are polite to everyone you meet - you never know when someone could be a good contact or your future boss!
- Be prepared for delays, schedule changes, and other set backs during the conference.
- Bring caffeine and snacks. You never know when you're gonna need the boost or when you might get hungry.
- Jet lag sucks. Be prepared for that mess.
- It's okay to be nervous - especially if you have never been to this event before! I am most definitely nervous but I also try to manage my stress so that I don't get too overwhelmed.
- Stay in contact with the people who gave you the scholarship/follow their directions so your trip is easy and you get the most out of it!
I'm sure as I attend more conferences and more university sponsored events I'll be able to add a part II to this list so that you guys can get more out of this!