Do you love going to conferences or do you dread them? Do you find more value in the workshops and sessions, or do you get the most out of networking and impromptu conversations? I am heading off to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) Conference in Austin this week, and I have some tips on how to get the most out of any conference.
Come prepared to meet some amazing people
Seek opportunities to genuinely talk with other professionals
Set a goal to network with 3 to 5 new people who are influencers in your region
Bring your business cards!
Come prepared to learn something new
Choose sessions that you want to go to, not the ones you think you should attend.
Attend the sessions with an open mind and engage with the people around you.
Complete the surveys at each session, providing valuable feedback that can improve the conferences for next time.
Come prepared to share what you know with someone else
Share your experience and resources when you can and help someone else along the way.
If you don’t like the sessions being offered, consider becoming a presenter next year and take notes on what you would offer.
Come prepared to enjoy the city you are visiting
Whether you are traveling alone or with a group, take time to step out of the conference center and see the city.
Plan ahead and make a list of a couple of “must see” sites, and be open to spontaneous opportunities when they occur.
Find a new restaurant, check out a city park, or take a tour. It is a refreshing break from the conference and you just may fall in love with a new city!
Charter school conferences are an opportunity to connect with other professionals in our field and to learn the latest in law and policy, best practices, and innovations. I’m looking forward to the next conference. Hope to see you in at the next conference!
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Peggy Downs works with school leaders who want to leverage grants to dramatically increase funding, impact, and credibility for their schools. More info and a ton of free resources are waiting for you at:
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