Tips for Optimizing Your Administrative Assistant Conference

Do you really “show up” for your conference? Of course, we all physically show up but do we mentally show up? Do we really engage ourselves in the conference or do we expect to sit there and be entertained? Below are 15 tips on what you should do to get the most out of an administrative assistant conference, gain real value, and enhance your opportunity for creating behavior change.

 REALLY network: Ask questions! Find out “why.” Share tips. Open up! I really don’t like to use the word network anymore but do so because that is what most people are familiar with. You should be eager about making “connections.” To me, connections are long-lasting; networking is just handing out your business cards to a bunch of people. It’s often platonic conversation whereas when you want to really connect with people, you converse at a deeper level.

  Be fully engaged and mentally alert. This is your moment! I know it is hard, sometimes, to stay mentally engaged at a conference where you have been listening to speakers all day and possibly sitting a lot of the time. Do your best to stay focused and engaged even at the end of the day? At our Conference for Administrative Excellence, I purposely hire very professional, high-end, high-energy speakers to present at the end of the day so our attendees stay engaged and walk out energized.

  Tweet. What are you learning? How will you change?

  If you attend the Office Dynamics Conference for Administrative Excellence, introduce yourself to me. I am eager to meet everyone who attends our conference.

  Listen.

  Arrive at least ten minutes early to your sessions. Introduce yourself to those sitting around you and hand them your business card; ask for their business card. Be ready to go!

  Capture important aha moments! Jot them in a notebook or on your iPad.

 At the end of each day, take some time to review what you heard and add any details to the information. This is when information is the freshest in your mind. If you wait until you get back home, you probably won’t make much time to reflect. You will be on to the next thing and busy catching up at work.

  Meet the speakers. Ask them questions. Learn about their educational materials. Don’t be afraid to go up and talk to the speakers at the conference. Often, they love interacting with the audience and meeting people. Sometimes assistants are shy at our administrative conference and hesitate to come up and introduce themselves or ask to have their picture taken with me. I am honored when assistants come up to me and say hello. I am thrilled that they have taken the time to come to our conference.

  Enjoy the moment! Don’t fret about what is going on back at the office. This is your time and your organization has invested in your professional development.

  Turn off your critical mind and keep an open mind whether you are networking or listening to the presenters.

  Find an accountability partner. Exchange telephone numbers and email addresses. Vow that you will stay in touch monthly and hold each other accountable for making changes based on what you learned at the conference.

  When an attendee hands you their business card, after they leave, make notes on the back of the card that will help you remember that person. What is unique about them? What did you have in common with them? Identify a unique feature of their face so you will remember them in the future.

  Jody Urquhart (motivational speaker) says: Manage Your Energy. Pace yourself, because conferences can be exhausting. Most schedules are packed with keynote speakers, break out educational speakers, networking events and more. If you are not careful you can burn out on the first day.

  Break your record and connect with more people than you ever have at a past conference. Everyone is interesting!

  Take full advantage of the relationship-building breakfast and lunches.  If the conference offers social events, attend. At our administrative conference, we have a lovely Welcome Reception and a fabulous Gala bash. Both are great fun and a wonderful way to casually connect with conference attendees.

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