Navigating a conference as an administrative professional can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience, especially for first-time attendees. This blog post provides practical tips and strategies to ensure you stand out and gain the most from these professional gatherings. From pre-conference preparation, maximizing networking opportunities, how you present yourself, and selecting the right conference to leveraging social media for connections, these tips are tailored to help you shine.
Whether you’re a seasoned attendee or a first-time conference gower, implementing these suggestions will empower you to not only be noticed but also to create meaningful, long-lasting connections that could significantly enhance your career trajectory. Enjoy the journey of self-growth, and remember, this conference experience is for you – make it count!
Choose the Right Conference
No two conferences are the same. Some are large; some are small. Some include multiple sessions running simultaneously; others stick to one room. There is no right or wrong approach to running a conference, but if you want to ensure you don’t get lost in the crowd, you need to pick one that is right for you.
The Conference for Administrative Excellence was created to keep attendees at the center of attention. We’ve structured our conference so administrative professionals don’t have to choose between different sessions and grow stressed navigating the conference halls. We stay together, we learn together, we grow together. Our intimate conference size ensures that each attendee gets the attention they deserve, allowing us to help you make meaningful connections and not fade into the background. Here are a few additional features of our conference that help each attendee find and use their voice:
- The Joan Burge Innovation Award: Office Dynamics, recognizing the innovative prowess of assistants, established the Joan Burge Innovation Award in 2019 to honor their exceptional ideas and provide a platform for sharing them. Each winner will be invited up on stage to share their ideas with administrative professionals from around the world!
- Interactive Sessions: Many of our sessions are interactive. By attending our conference, you’ll get the chance to use your voice at an open mic and ask the speaker questions, or even the opportunity to go up on stage. We encourage all our attendees to participate and step outside their comfort zone.
- Team Building Exercises: We work hard to create memorable teambuilding experiences with attendees at their tables each year. You will have a chance to learn collaboration skills and not stress about finding connections. We will guide you each step of the way!
We know you’ve worked hard to be here, so it’s your time to shine! Take a look at some of what some of our past attendees have to say and see if our annual conference is a good fit for you.
Network With Other Attendees
Conference networking events can be a powerhouse of opportunities for both personal and professional growth. The key to maximizing these benefits is thoughtful preparation, proactive participation, and meaningful follow-up.
Bring physical or digital business cards for easy exchange of contact information. At the conference, engage with sessions, participate in workshops, and initiate conversations with other attendees. At The Conference for Administrative Excellence, we have several networking opportunities, including:
- Dedicated Networking Areas: Features such as our peer-centric learning and our social fusion mixer give attendees dedicated time to network with each other. Get ready to collaborate and engage with other esteemed professionals.
- Joan Burge Gala: Our Founder & CEO, Joan Burge, is known for her spark and creativity. The gala is a themed event that features live entertainment, beverages, and delectable food in an elegant atmosphere for administrative professionals to unwind and have fun. Trust us. It’s an absolute blast!
Making meaningful connections with other attendees will help you stand out from the crowd at an administrative professional’s conference, enrich the experience, and help you form relationships beyond the conference. You can learn more about how to network in our blog post here.
Presentation is Key
How you present yourself at a conference plays a pivotal role in the impressions you leave on others. Your attire should serve as a reflection of your personal style while maintaining an element of professionalism. For instance, if you’re fond of bright hues, incorporate them into your outfit through a vibrant blazer or accessory, as it can make you stand out in the crowd. Alternatively, if your wardrobe leans towards monochrome, particularly black, you can keep your outfit sleek and enhance it with a unique hairstyle or elegant accessories.
However, amidst these styling tips, remember to stay comfortable. Conferences usually entail long hours of standing, moving around, or networking, so opt for an ensemble that won’t hurt your ability to participate actively. Choose comfortable footwear and clothing that fits well to ensure you can easily navigate the day. The ideal conference attire balances personal authenticity with a professional, polished appearance without compromising comfort.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Social media is a powerful tool for making meaningful connections, especially around a dedicated event like a conference. There are a few things you’ll want to do before, during, and after the event on social media to help you stand out from the crowd:
- Before the Event: Research the company putting together the conference’s website, follow their social media pages, and subscribe to their newsletter. More than likely, these communication outlets will tell you how to stay active on social media and bring attendees together. Use any official hashtags (ours is #AdminConf), tag relevant pages, and start engaging with other attendees you meet.
- During: One of the best ways to stay active on social media during the event is to post to your Instagram Stories. Sharing a brief video or image tagging the conference organization, which will allow you to share the experience with your connections. If the conference shares your story, other attendees can see and make connections with you. That’s why you should also follow and pay attention to the conference organization’s stories; when you see another attendee’s shared there, make the move to connect with them!
- After: Post a brief recap on your social media page of choice and tag the conference, the organization that put it on, and any relevant attendees and speakers. Make sure you follow their newsletters & social media pages and actively engage with them; this is one of the best ways to continue to foster the connections you made long after the conference is complete.
Keep Stress at Bay
Limiting excessive stress is one major key to ensuring you can focus your energy on standing out from the crowd at a conference. Too often, we find that many administrative professionals who attend the event immediately feel overwhelmed, especially if it’s their first time. If you’re too stressed, you won’t be able to focus your efforts on participating in the conference. To ease some of the nerves, keep these helpful tips in mind:
- Prepare Well and Pack Essentials: The last thing you need is to be preoccupied with purchasing something you forgot to pack. Our conference location every year is in Las Vegas during October; knowing this, research the venue and weather ahead of time and know your preference for keeping yourself organized so you can come ready.
- Have Your Elevator Pitch Ready: An ‘elevator pitch’ is a short, clear summary of your professional background, current role, and objectives. It doesn’t need to be blah or feel forced, just have your key points in mind and add your personality!
- Familiarize Yourself with The Agenda and Speakers: We know many of our attendees are already avid fans of some of our speakers. However, the beauty of a conference is that you will hear new speakers you’ve never heard of before and fall in love with their content! Scope out the agenda and speakers beforehand to prepare your mind for the sessions and features that interest you the most. This will help you have a clear roadmap to tackle the day.
Whether you’re confident in any setting or typically feel nervous in larger crowds, attending a conference for administrative professionals can help you grow immensely on your career path. The connections, learning, and self-growth create once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for attendees to realize all they are capable of. So no matter your personality or experience, if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd and make the most of your conference experience.