Here are five tips to make the most of your first time at the Annual IC3 Conference
Conferences can be pretty nerve-wracking. Socializing with people you don’t know, representing your institution in the best light, and absorbing tons of information in a short amount of time can be a bit overwhelming for the first timer. If you find yourself to be naturally reserved, or in my case an introvert disguised as an extrovert, this can feel even more daunting. These were some of the concerns on my mind just one year ago when I attended my first IC3 Conference. As we’re gearing up for this year’s conference, I thought I’d give a shout-out to our first timers and those who may be attending on their own. Here are a few tips and tricks of the trade for having an enjoyable experience and making the most out of your time at the IC3 Conference.
- Make Smart Connections Smart may mean something different for everyone. Maybe you’d like to establish new regional links. Maybe there’s someone attending the conference you’ve been dying to connect with. As a territory manager for India and a few neighboring countries, I set out to meet as many counselors and school officials as possible! IC3 is a fantastic format for me to develop and strengthen relationships; putting faces to email addresses and reconnecting with old contacts. It’s also easy to speak to the people around you. Introduce yourself, ask what they thought of sessions and please make a beeline past the small talk.
- Speak to the SpeakersOn top of their work at their home institutions, speakers have worked tirelessly to put together presentations on topics they are passionate about. If you find yourself wanting to know more or just wanting to say hi, go for it! Not only are speakers happy to talk about their work and research, they may also offer valuable advice and insight on a topic that’s been on your mind.
- Personal Time is OK!Don’t be afraid to take personal time. Even if you find the idea of non-stop networking to be riveting, make sure to take some alone time to recharge and reboot. Not only does this keep you fresh and ready to take on the day,it’s also a great opportunity to recap all you’ve learned. Take a walk, sneak in a quick powernap, or read a book – whatever you need to do to feel comfortable and prepared to make the most of your time.
- Get the Scoop!
If it’s your first time to New Delhi and you have a few more days in the region after the conference, get the scoop from your new friends! Where to go, what to eat, where to shop. You’re in India and many conference attendees will be more than happy to share what makes their country incredible! Asking questions and having conversations about culture and current events is a fantastic way to get to know your colleagues beyond their work. In my experience, the strongest bonds I’ve made have been based on a wonderful mix of passion for student counseling and a genuine interest in each other’s homes and backgrounds.
Attending conferences alone can be quite the experience, but it doesn’t have to be scary or unpleasant. Everyone is attending because like you, they are passionate about international education and student counseling. Take your time, do what’s comfortable and of course, have fun!