Speakers’ Top Tips for Getting the Most Out of the Conference

After months of anticipation, the Oct. 2 Pennsylvania Conference for Women is finally upon us! We’re so excited to meet all of you in person – as are our illustrious speakers! We’re so excited, in fact, that we asked them to share their top tips for making the most of this amazing opportunity. They’re as invested as you are in soaking up every ounce of conference goodness, so read on for their advice!

Cindy-Gallop-highCindy Gallop:  TWEET LIKE HELL!
Don’t have a Twitter account/handle? Acquire one immediately, start tweeting and following interesting Twitterers, and tweet in the run-up to the conference and all the way through it, using the conference hashtag #pennwomen; and monitor the conference Twitter stream in real time while you’re doing it. That’s because Twitter is a great way to connect with people and make what you want to happen, happen in the real world. Make your tweets reflective of your conference experience: great soundbites from speakers, comments on the event, funny observations, replies to other Twitterers.  I personally regard it as my duty to inject irreverence into any conference Twitter stream – especially if the Twitter feed is being publicly displayed next to the stage or on screens outside 🙂

Alexis-Sclambergsm1Alexis Sclamberg: Follow Your Inspiration!
Last week, I listened as an author told me an incredible story. She was leaving the biggest publishing trade show of the year when she felt compelled to turn around and high tail it back to a particular publisher’s booth. She raced back in to the building to find the president of the publishing house standing there, without a crowd, free to talk. Before she knew it she had pitched a book idea and days later she had a book deal. You never know when or where inspiration will hit, but you always have the choice to follow that inner guidance. If you feel compelled to talk to someone or attend a certain event, go for it!

Victoria-PynchonsmVictoria Pynchon: Network by Building Real Relationships
If approaching a stranger is difficult for you, take a look at the women standing alone at the periphery of the action. They’re dying for someone to approach them and say “hi.” Use easy openers to spark conversations. If someone has schooled you in an elevator pitch, please toss it out. Don’t sell yourself until you have some idea what your networking partner does, what challenges her business or profession faces, and what she hoped to learn by coming to the conference. Once you know something about your new conversation partner, search for commonalities – children, alma maters, professions, industries and even the weather is something you’ll likely have in common. Build a warm relationship before you suggest staying in touch, exchanging business cards, introducing one another to people likely to be of assistance and moving on to the next networking opportunity.

Gloria-FeldtsmGloria Feldt: Ask for It By Name
I knew little about leadership when I took my first nonprofit CEO position. So as I scrambled to figure it out, I soaked up every leadership course I could find. I met many people and truth is, I learned as much in the hallways and at the bar afterward as in classes.  I’ll never forget what one man said to me when we met during a networking session. He asked my future goals. I demurred, turning the conversation back to his work. “Ask for it by name,” he admonished me. We women love to network. We tend to see networking as primarily relational. And of course it’s essential to be friendly, authentic, and generous to others.  But networking must also be done with purpose if it is to be effective.  Asking for what we want by name is a practice women must learn, and learning we must practice, if we are to build the lives and careers we want.  In every networking opportunity, identify in advance what you want from the interchange. And at least once during the conversation, “Ask for it by name.”

Lauren-BergersmLauren Berger:   Stay in Touch with Everyone You Meet.
When you see someone speak, go up to them, introduce yourself. So many high-profile speakers are making themselves accessible to you. Take advantage of it. Take initiative and stay in touch!

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