Are you wondering how to prepare for attending a conference or seminar? The go-getters who attend my seminars and webinars are quite often the problem-solvers in their office, which means people will seek them out no matter where they are in order to ask questions. If you’d like to make the most out of attending your onsite or virtual conference and decrease the probability of interruptions, consider using this handy checklist for any event for which you want to be fully present:
___ Add this seminar or conference to your calendar, verifying the date, time and location or virtual platform. If other people have access to your calendar, consider adding the notation unavailable by phone/email to the calendar event title.
___ On your calendar, give yourself a 10-minute window to get settled in and connected if it’s virtual. Even the best-known virtual platforms are experiencing hiccups during this period of heavy internet usage. If your educational event is onsite, arrive at least 30 minutes prior to check in and settle in.
___ When you attend a full-day event, consider notifying applicable colleagues and clients that you will be “out of the office” on Day, Date, for a full-day XYZ event. If you’re not sure what to say in an email or text, feel free to copy/paste the following:
Please note that I’ll be out of the office on Day, Date, in order to participate in an important seminar. I will have limited access to phone and email at mid-day during our lunch break. If you have a pressing issue on that day, you can contact <insert colleague or assistant name> at <phone/email>.
___ Block off calendar time the afternoon before the event. This allows room in your schedule to handle last-minute colleague or client requests.
___ Block off calendar time in the afternoon or morning after the event. This allows you some time to catch up on emails and voicemails, as well as implement tactics you’ve just learned.
___ For a full-day or even half-day event, set your e-mail out-of-office auto-responder before you leave the office the evening before.
___ For a full-day event, set your voicemail out-of-office message before you “leave the office” the evening before.
If you will be attending a virtual conference or seminar and you’re not extremely familiar with the platform that will be used, consider doing a practice run a couple of days prior so you’ll have time to get help before the event.
For participants in my virtual seminars, I ask them to be familiar with Zoom. Here’s an example of what I share:
We will utilize Zoom features such as Annotate, Poll, Chat and possibly Breakout Rooms. These features function more smoothly on computers than phones. By the way, you’ll know you’ve arrived at the correct virtual presentation if you see a screen with a request to use the Annotate tool to participate in the arrival activity. Please be sure to go to this web page for details about how to use the Zoom tools we’ll utilize, as well as to verify that you have the latest version of Zoom.
When you take the time to prepare for attending a conference or seminar, you’ll have fewer worries about being away from work, and you’ll be able to concentrate and learn the material that’s being presented.
Remember, time management is all about mind management. You do have the power to tell your time what to do!