How to get the most out of a Conference

As were getting ready for the 21st CCLC Summer Institute Conference we were thinking about our first time attending a conference. We were nervous, excited and wondering what to expect. As we had a lot going on personally (summer vacation) and in work we wanted to get the most of our time.

Reflecting on what we wanted to know or should have known, (sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know), and we came up with these buy viagra online free shipping Nine Need to Know Necessities for Attending a Conference. Reflecting on this list we sure wish someone would have shared this with us.

Today, we are going to focus on a Plan for Success, giving you three tips from our list of nine. Next week we will pass along a three more tips. We are excited to share our tips of the trade with all of you!

We are fortunate to have been in the afterschool world for 20 plus years with a focus on 21st CCLC programming. We have attended one or two conferences (ok, maybe more like 10 or 100 conferences). We know people go to conferences for all different reasons, and that it can seem like an overwhelming endeavor.

Sure it is fun to travel to new places, see new things and meet new people but how do you get the most from the conference you are attending. We have put together Nine Need to Know Necessities to make your conference attendance more enjoyable and help you get the most out of attending.

Lamictal overnight without prescription Nine Need to Know Necessities: Attending a Conference

1. Setting Goals to Take Action
2. Colleagues & Conferences
3. Intentional Planning
4. Power of Networking
5. Conversation Starters
6. Vendors are Valuable
7. Believe in Yourself
8. Move Out of Your Comfort Zone
9. Personal Challenge

Setting Goals to Take Action

We want you take a minute to think about what you will be able to take away from the conference. As we have been told over the years setting goals is important. Think about your strengths and weaknesses in your position. As you get things organized around your office or while you are packing your bags, think about what can I, and what can the program including staff gain.

Take a few minutes to visit the conference website to see the Agenda at a Glance, Conference Strands, Breakout Sessions, Vendors, and the overall theme of the Conference. Understand your purpose in why you are attending the conference. Align your focus around what sessions and networking opportunities you should be engaged with to benefit your program and yourself. Ask yourself, “Why am I attending?” Beyond the fact that truthfully it is just great to get out of the office and away from your day-to-day duties.

Come up with three goals you want to take with you when you leave the conference. What do I expect to get out the conference? What am I looking to gain? Am I being volunTOLD? (You know when someone tells you that you have been volunteered to attend a conference).  If so, what does your supervisor want you to gain?

Colleagues & Conferences

Attending a conference with your colleagues is a great way to bond and share ideas. It can also be stressful for some people, so making a plan can be helpful. If you are a leader/supervisor of a group, see what the interest of your group is and how can you get them involved. Attending a conference with a group is a great way to gain more information. As you have set your own personal goals for the conference talk to your colleagues to see what they want to gain from the conference. Do you have similar strengths and interests? Do you feel you each have different attributes? You may want to think about attending different sessions, to gather various ideas. If there is a large group of people from your work take some time to review the agenda as a group to see the best way to split up. Or, you may want to attend the same session, as it is something you both feel is important.

Have fun creating an engaging process to collect and present useful information from the conference to bring back to your colleagues. There are a variety of ways to share information with your colleagues. Choose the method of delivery most comfortable for you. You can also debrief each day to share some ideas you gained. Make it fun!

Intentional Planning

Just like when planning your program you need to approach a conference with the same mentality. Be intentional when choosing a breakout session: Do the research by looking at the subject area, presenters (Do you know who they are? Have you heard anything about them?), topic area, and think about practical application.

As you start to schedule your day look at your program needs (and personal needs). Are there two sessions being offered at the same time you would like to attend? What do you do?!@ Don’t Panic! Glance to see if either of the sessions is being repeated. If you are going with a group let them know you would like someone to attend one of the sessions. Or, once you are at the conference see if there is another person going to the session who would be willing to share the information. Many of the presenters will share their presentations. If you can’t find someone to attend then talk with the presenter.

Before you go, think about your program. How you are running the program? Come ready to participate and be engaged at the conference. Make the best of what you are doing right now. Be prepared to free yourself from your day-to-day rituals. For best results, clear out the clutter upstairs (yeah, in your head). You will want to focus on getting the most out of the conference.

Come with an open mind to take in some creative ideas. Be innovative on how to implement the ideas within your own program. Some ideas can be adapted and other ideas may not be a good fit. Don’t get stressed about what you don’t have. Instead focus your energy on how you can adapt new ideas in your program.

Don’t feel the pressure that you need to do what everyone else is doing. A good program is unique to your students and community. If you feel a session is not meeting your needs, it is OK to quietly leave the session. We understand your time is valuable that is why intentional planning is a must.


We are so excited to be presenting at this year’s 21st CCLC Summer Institute, July 25th, 26th and 27th in Philadelphia, PA. If you haven’t already checked out this awesome conference, now is a good time to time to look into it. The 21st CCLC Summer Institute is put on by the U.S. Department of Education:

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