1. Pick sessions in advance.
Don’t wait until you are onsite and rush to choose what you’ll attend. A bit of thoughtful contemplation in advance should help you make better choices.
2. Make appointments with people you want to connect with.
How many times have you hoped to connect with someone at a conference, and yet it never happened? By the time you are at the conference, schedules are often full. If you really want to connect, contact those people in advance and schedule a time and place.
3. Do advance prep.
Why not do some background research on presenters and their topics? Avail yourself to resources that conferences are increasingly making available pre-event. The study you do before you arrive will leverage your learning.
4. Set limits.
Decide in advance how much you’ll eat and drink, how much sleep you’ll need and what kind of distractions you’ll work to avoid. Advance decision making is more fruitful than trying to decide in the heat of the moment.
5. Determine what you need and what you can offer.
I learned from my friend Larry Benet and his SANG (Speakers and Authors Networking Group) how powerful those two things can be. Go to your conference knowing what you most need to learn from others and what you are able to offer others of value. That sharing mutuality is a powerful tool.