If you are going to attend an Assistant industry conference, you will get much more value if you spend a little bit of time preparing correctly for the event. We all know this, and yet all too often an event pops up on our calendar for the next day, and we think, is this tomorrow already??????

To make the most of attending a conference, it is a good idea to spend around an hour before the event making sure you can make the most of your day. And here’s how event industry event William Thomson at Gallus Events suggests you can best spend that hour.

1. Find out exactly how to get to the venue. The absolute last thing you want to happen is to arrive late or in an aggravated state! You should know exactly where you are going before you set off and how to get there. Of course, assistants are experts at making sure their executives have all the details they need but sometimes we can be so busy we forget to do that for ourselves!

2. Look through the programme and choose your sessions. All too often we arrive on site and start to wonder, who should we spend our time with? Your time is so valuable at a conference you should plan your day well in advance. Checking out all of the sessions before you set off will help you ensure you have chosen the session in which you will get the most out of attending.

3. The absolute most crucial thing to do is to spend some time setting out your objectives. Precisely what do you hope to get out of your time at the conference? Is it about meeting new people? Seeing a speaker? Finding a new supplier? How will you measure your success? The answers to these questions should guide you through your day.

4. Find out what sessions the organiser is recording. Knowing which session you can catch up on later will help you in the event of a tie: you won’t need to be in the same place at the same time! Not every event is like our Virtual Summit where you can watch every session after the event, so make sure you know what ones you will be able to catch up on.

5. Tell people you are attending. It is worth highlighting to your network that you are taking part in an event. This will allow your network to see that you value continual professional development. It will also allow those in your network to get in touch if they are planning to attend.

6. Get to bed early and have a good breakfast before you get to the event. No matter the event you visit, you are going to have a busy day. How much information you retain is correlated to how rested and how much energy you have. It is best to arrive at an event fully charged and ready to go. And make sure you are well hydrated too.

7. See who else is attending. One of the main benefits of attending an industry conference is not to hear the speakers, but to share stories and experiences with other attendees. Many events list attendees before the event, and this makes it very easy to see who is attending. Alternatively, you can check on the event hashtag on social media channels.

8. Download the event app. Many conferences are introducing event apps to help attendees at their event. With a varying degree, these event apps are at least useful and at most essential. It is a good idea to download the event app a few days before so you can decide if they are going to be useful or not.

9. Choose your downtime or your time to catch up on the day job within the programme. Nowadays an excellent industry conference should have some downtime built into the event. We now know so much more than we used to about how the brain retains information, and it is essential that you have time to allow your mind to download information. It is also vital that you choose the time that best works for you. So look at the programme and think about what would work best for you to recharge or to catch up on what’s going on at the office.

10. Read the pre-event material. Most good conferences now want to ensure that you arrive on site well prepared. They don’t want to spend the time going over the basics, so many events are now sending information that will make sure you are up to speed. For example, we often publish blog posts from the speakers who are taking part in our virtual summit. As well as getting you up to speed, you will have a better understanding of that information that is likely to be covered. It is often essential that you read any pre-event information and links from the organisers.

As you look through this list you may think that you don’t have time to do any, never mind all of them! And of course, I know how busy you all are doing the day job. However, doing all of these shouldn’t take more than an hour, and surely it is worth investing an extra 10% of your time in getting as much out of an event as possible.

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