Last semester I had the opportunity to attend ICON, an international conference hosted by PRSA. While this conference usually takes place in a large city, such as Nashville or San Diego, I had the opportunity to attend it from the comfort of my apartment. I really enjoyed experiencing a conference from home, but I also would do a few things differently. Here is my advice.
1. Find a comfortable spot.
At an in-person conference, we get to stand up, stretch our legs, and move to a different location almost every hour. While we can still take a stretch break in our apartment, we are most likely going to stay in one spot for the duration of the conference. During ICON, I sat at my desk the entire time. While this was fine, I was so sore by the end of it. In hindsight, I would have picked a different spot to sit. Preferably more cushioned. If you have a living room that is relatively free of distractions, or a comfortable chair in your room, I would suggest moving there. It also might be refreshing to not sit at your desk, since we already do it almost every day.
2. Have water and snacks readily available.
Conferences are long. They usually last at least 5 hours in my experience. While some may have a built-in lunch break, you are probably going to get peckish during the conference. At ICON I was kicking myself for not having snacks and a drink in my room. Yes, I could have just walked to the kitchen, but then I risked missing some of the valuable information. Personally, I would suggest having a box of Cheez-Its and a Nalgene full of water ready to go.
3. Hide your phone during presentations.
We have all been here before. Our phones contain our connection to the outside world right now, so it's difficult not to check them frequently. One of the hardest things about attending ICON was resisting the urge to check my phone every time I got a notification. It got to the point where I would put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” during the sessions, and then check it during our designated breaks. While this may seem unnecessary, I promise that it helps you maintain your focus. Honestly, I would even recommend setting your phone away from you during the sessions. This way you can’t check it on a whim.
If you are interested in seeing how these tips hold up, please check out our virtual conference on March 13! You can find more information about this event under the “District Conference” tab here on our website, or you can follow @progressthroughtech on Instagram!
This blog post was written by Amelia Wilt, Conference Coordinator.