Events like the PASS Summit aren’t just about education. They are a chance to meet new people, get some distance from the day to day problems of work (and life perhaps), and even have some fun. Done well attendees end the week tired and recharged.
How to do that varies by person, by personality type, experience level, skill at traveling, how many people they know and reconnect with, and even how many times they have been to the event before. What works for me may not work for you. Think about what you want to accomplish and then think about how to get there. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about goals:
- How many sessions do I want to attend? (It’s ok to skip some, whether its to continue a conversation or go for a walk – listening/learning is tiring!)
- What is my focus as I pick sessions to attend? Is it stuff I use but want to learn better/deeper, or is it something brand new? Often its both, but worth looking at your plan overall to make sure you achieve your goals. It’s perfectly ok to attend a session that may not seem relevant to work right now.
- What do I want to bring back to the office? Consider jotting down 3 points about every session you attend plus anything you want to follow up on – a list you can just copy/paste to colleagues.
- Are there specific people I want to meet or reconnect with? How are you going to meet them?
- Are there specific vendors/products I want to visit? We tend to use what we know, it’s easily worth a couple hours in the sponsor area just seeing what’s new. Don’t fall into the trap of only looking at stuff you might use right now – plan for the next challenge by knowing what the options are.
- What do I want/like to do in the evenings/how do I recharge? For some it’s parties, for some its a quiet dinner with old/new friends, for some its the serenity of the hotel room and takeout. Put some thought into this, because it’s probably the biggest part of what your answer will be when someone asks you how your trip was.
Take a few minutes to think about your goals and how you will achieve them. Try to implement it, but be flexible – sometimes you have to adjust day by day based on what is working or looks more interesting. A plan is useful, but only as a guide to having a week that ends with you returning home tired, content, and recharged.