If you’re heading to a genealogy conference this spring or summer, a little bit of preparation can be a big help. Having the things you need with you and a plan in place will make your conference experience both more productive and more enjoyable.
Before you leave home, you’ll want to spend time looking over the conference brochure—and the syllabus, if it’s available to you—to select which lectures you want to attend. For large multi-day conferences, I like to make a daily chart to keep track of what I want to do and where I need to be at certain times. In addition to reminding me of the sessions and events I want to go to, it helps me identify blocks of time I have for the exhibit hall.
You’ll also want to have access to the handouts for the lectures you attend. Many conferences now provide their syllabus books on flash drive or CD. They also allow registered participants to download the full syllabus a week or two before the conference. If you plan on carrying a laptop or tablet with you to the sessions, you’ll have the handouts that way. If not, there are two ways to get printed handouts: order a printed syllabus book at the time of registration, or print the handouts you want from the online syllabus before leaving home.
I find it helpful to pack a tote bag to carry into the conference center. Some of the items I usually take include:
- A folder with the conference brochure and my daily schedule sheets
- My laptop or iPad with the syllabus downloaded
- A spiral notebook or paper for taking notes
- Pens and pencils
- Business cards
- Return address labels to put on door prize tickets
- My phone (with camera)
- A sweater for varying room temperatures
Just a little bit of planning can pay off big when you walk into the conference center. Oh, and one more thing to remember: your wallet, for all those exhibit hall purchases you won’t be able to resist!
© 2012 Shelley Bishop