Innovators of Law: Conjuring Your Conference Superpowers
Wow! What a fun and informative discussion we had on the latest episode of Lupl’s Innovators of Law Series! If you missed it, you’ve come to the right place.
Our conversation was aimed at helping people gain confidence and achieve their goals at their next conference or big networking event. Lupl’s Director of Growth, Kalina Leopold, was joined by Stephanie Clerkin, Director of Litigation Support at Korein Tillery, Monica Harris, Product Business Manager at CellebriteES, and Sameena Kluck, CEO and founder of Amplify Your Voice LLC.
First and foremost, we asked our panel, what is your favorite thing about attending conferences? Overwhelmingly the panel (and the audience!) agreed that networking was our top priority. Coming in a close second was keeping up with industry trends, followed by education / CLEs, and meeting clients or your own team.
We all agreed that getting to see people face-to-face is still the best way to make connections. One audience member said that even the smiles feel different in person. Stephanie highlighted that for her, peer-based learning is best and who better to learn from than those of us who “have been in the trenches.” Monica and Kalina both have had opportunities to meet colleagues at conferences this year – with so many teams working remote, a multi-day industry event has been the only time they both have spent quality in-person time with the other members of their teams! Sameena loves engaging with peers at conferences because you can find out what all the buzz is about straight from the SMEs themselves!
Regardless of your goals there’s a lot you can do to prepare for a conference and optimize getting what you want, while still achieving your goals. We’ve compiled a list of all the tips and tricks.
Tips for building / growing your network:
- Review the agenda and speakers list.
- Contact speakers that interest you and let them know you are looking forward to their session!
- Read the descriptions of the sessions to get a feel for what the main topics of conversation will be during the event, so you have talking points when meeting new people.
- Check out social to see who is posting about the event. Comment and engage often to boost your visibility online!
- Post on social and let your network know you’re attending. Don’t forget to use the official conference hashtag!
- Spend some time in the common areas – they are always a great place to meet attendees and catch people going from one session or meeting to another.
Tips for optimizing the sessions:
- Kick it old school and print out the agenda, highlighting which sessions you want to attend.
- Pro-tip: color coding the sessions helps a lot! You can break them out into groups of sessions that are a must see for you, a would like, perhaps you’re speaking at one or a colleague is speaking at another.
- If you’re like most of us on the panel, you live and die by your calendar. Schedule the sessions you want to attend in your calendar – making notes or color coding them similarly.
- Bring a notebook or use your phone / device to take notes during the session.
- If you can’t take notes during the session (or don’t want to), jot down 5 things you learned or resonated with you after the session is over. This is useful for:
- Reporting back to your team / organization on industry trends, lessons learned.
- Posting on social media during / after the conference, sharing key takeaways and providing knowledge to your network.
- Reaching out to speakers during and after the session to broaden your network.
- Connect with speakers on LinkedIn during the sessions, letting them know something you appreciated about it! (This also helps as a reminder of when and how you met!)
Tips for taking care of you:
- Schedule in downtime. You can use this time to catch up on work, take a walk, meditate, do whatever you need to do to get away from the hubbub and recharge. Maybe you love a good power nap! Schedule time for you – try to give yourself at least 1 hour each day of the conference.
- Plan for a conference hangover. We don’t mean from alcohol – we’re talking about the emotional come-down a lot of us experience after a conference when all the nerves are settling and you’ve gone from being around thousands of people to all by yourself on a plane, train, or in a car, heading home. What are the things you need when it’s all over to help you recover mentally?
- Give yourself grace. You are likely not going to be able to get to everything you want to do and that is okay. In fact, it’s why some of us triple book ourselves with events! That way if we miss one, we have a backup.
- Accept what you can’t change. Right before any big event we all still have hopes it’s going to go perfect. But life has taught us that isn’t how it goes. There are going to be thing that happen that you can’t control. One way to manage expectations (and anxiety) is to pick a moment just before the event kicks off, your Eff-it moment, and anything that goes awry after that you can choose to accept as is. Like rain right before an outdoor event. Or running into traffic 5 minutes away from the venue. Or spilling coffee down your shirt at breakfast. We can’t control everything – accepting that will allow you to be more present for what you can control.
Tips for introverts:
Following the tips above will help you with talking points and building confidence, but some of us need more and that’s okay!
- Remind yourself that if you’re feeling nervous about meeting new people, it’s probable that at least half the room is feeling the same way.
- You can always go to your room to decompress if need be.
- Don’t completely skip networking events. For example, stay for 30 minutes so you can flex that mingle muscle just a little bit.
- For women: if you don’t know anyone in the room, we have found that finding other women in the room and introducing yourself is usually a safe bet.
- Get a conference buddy! Someone who knows you well and can be a support if you need an assist.
Tips for crushing your conference…before, during and after the event:
- Stay positive and pumped! Keep a thought or mantra in your head that lifts you up. What you’re looking forward to? Start there!
- Leave your hotel room with a smile on your face – it works.
- Practice what you are going to stay to key people you’re meeting with.
- Bring outfits that make you feel confident!
- Choose a home-base (in a common area) so you have a place to go back to if you ever find yourself with nowhere to be or feeling a little out of sorts.
- Review agenda and social media ahead of time!
- Map out your strategy and include downtime, work-time, and sleep!
- Post on social before, during and after!
- Listen to a positive playlist while you get ready!
- Use our essentials packing list or make one of your own!
- Post on social when you get there so everyone knows you’ve arrived.
- Live tweet during sessions or post a synopsis on social tagging the speakers and using the official conference hashtag.
- Make sure to hang out in the common areas!
- Follow up within 48 hours by connecting on LinkedIn.
- Follow up the following week, where appropriate. You can set expectations during the conference of when you’ll be reaching out next.
- Write a reflective social post about what you learned, your key takeaways, and your experience overall. Tag peers and new connections and always use the official conference hashtag!
Meet the panelists!
Look for the #RedCapes at #ILTACON22
Monday Night @ the Exhibit Hall Opening Reception
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