Monday, February 5, 2018

Make the Most of Your Conference Experience Part One

By Andrea Merrell

With conference season getting underway, it's important for you as a writer to plan ahead. Let’s look at a few pointers to help you make the most of your conference experience. Whether you’re a newbie or seasoned attender, it helps to be well prepared. Here are the basics to get you started.

Check the Website
First and foremost, check the website. You will generally find valuable information on both the conference and venue.

Check the weather (extended forecast) and pack accordingly. Take a jacket or sweater. Even in the summer months, classrooms and auditoriums can be chilly. Layering is always a good idea. Most conferences are business casual, and comfortable shoes are a must if you will be doing a lot of walking. If there is to be a banquet or awards night, you might want to take something dressy.

Some conference centers have restaurants, snack bars, and vending machines, but it’s helpful to take your favorite snacks for those in-between or late-night moments when food is not available. You can also pack a few bottles of water or soda. Be sure to keep mints with you at all times. 😊

Materials for the Conference
  • Business Card with your name, e-mail address, website, and photo. Make it a point to exchange business cards throughout the conference. This is how you network.
  • One-Sheet: a single sheet of paper with the title of your project, genre, word count, your photo and bio, and a short synopsis of your story (think back cover blurb).
  • Notebook, extra pens, conference schedule, and driving directions.

Other Important Items
Don’t forget your vitamins, prescription medications, and toiletry items (toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, razor). Many conferences are now fragrance free. Be sure to bring your chargers for phones, tablets, laptops, and extra batteries.

The most important thing to remember is to relax and make the most of your experience. It’s especially hard when you are a newbie, but we were all newbies at one time. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek help when you need it. Christian conferences are a special community of like-minded individuals who are more than ready to help each other.

In my next post (2/26) we'll talk about more ways to have a positive conference experience. In the meantime, happy writing.

(Photos courtesy of and Andrea Merrell.)


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