Getting Pysched, and Staying Energetic, for The Big Conference

It’s that time again, conference season! It’s not just any season, it’s when the “big one” occurs – over 8000 higher education administrators, technologists and leaders convene to learn about, this year, measurable performance.

As I get ready to head out on my first flight tomorrow (for a partner conference, not the big one just yet) I thought I’d share some “just before you go” tips to make sure you are ready to deliver a powerful presentation, make new connections and to enjoy the conference experience overall.

1. Review Your Outline/Speaking Notes on Your Flight Out
Before leaving for your flight make a print out of your presentation and speaking notes/out line. While en route you can review the outline and practice by closing your eyes, imagining yourself delivering the speech and mouth the words. You want to make sure you have your main talking points and flow of conversation memorized by now, so the flight out is the time to polish your message.

2. Smile
It really is contagious. Before, during and after speaking remember to smile – it will make you approachable. If you have people presenting with you remind them to smile. It can be as simple as what an executive gave me once to make sure I was ready – a sticky note with a smiley on it while awaiting in the wings to go up on stage.

3. Do Your Daily Routine
Basically make the time to exercise, eat and sleep like you normally do, or better than normal. Don’t stay up late or drink a lot if you know you have to be on top of your game the next day.

4. Focus on The Conference
If there is work lurking over your head you are to do while you are at the conference, it can wait (make sure you set that expectation with others). Or, you can delegate it to someone else. Thinking about other items, be it email, the next proposal, etc. will distract you from making the most out of the conference you are at.

5. Spend Time With People
Usually the event you are at only happens one time a year. Make sure you take the time to connect with new colleagues and clients and re-connect with old. Hear what they have to say, not just about what you presented, but other topics, themes or “what they wish they heard about”. Be open to constructive (and not so constructive) criticism.

If anything, relax and have fun with it!

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