Every year our Temple PRSSA chapter hosts a PR conference for networking and professional development. After going to the Temple PRSSA Regional Conference last spring and the International PRSSA Conference in October, I feel that I’ve gained some knowledge of what to do at these conferences. In the spirit of the Temple University PRSSA Mid-Atlantic District Conference approaching soon, I thought it would be beneficial to give five personal tips for success at your first PR conference.
What to Wear
It is important to look your best when attending these conferences. At most conferences, the attire is Business Formal. This means that for men, it is best to wear suits which are a jacket and dress pants. For women, there is a bit more flexibility in wearing a suit jacket with dress pants or a skirt. Women could also wear a business formal dress or a nice blouse with a skirt that goes below the knee. The most important thing is to feel comfortable in what you wear at a conference since you will be wearing this outfit all day long and greeting people in it.
At conferences, there is a good possibility that there are professionals attending that are from other parts of the country. In this case, it is always good to have some resumes and business cards with you in order for people to have a tangible way to remember you. Networking and making connections are skills that you will especially need in the PR industry so it is essential to get some practice in while in these professional settings. An elevator pitch about who you are is a great way to make connections.
Choose Your Sessions Beforehand
There are programs for the conference so you can see the different speakers and topics that will be going on during the conference. Before you attend, it would be wise to look at the program to get a sense of what you would like to hear about. If you have a particular interest in a topic or want to gain more knowledge, it is smart to attend those sessions. Sometimes it can be tough because you might want to go to sessions where your peers are, but the point of the conference is to learn about the topics at hand. It is in your best interest to go to sessions you care about and that could help further your PR scope.
Conferences are filled with good information. Bringing a notebook and writing notes is a way to retain the new information or build upon something you might already know. At the PRogress Through Tech conference, there is a wide range of speakers that specialize in the advancement of tech in the PR world. Since this is a growing field, it would be helpful to take notes at the sessions you chose to go to. While I’ve attended conferences, I would take notes at the various sessions I would attend in order to fully grasp the information and also be able to look back in the future if I needed it. You never know what you might learn and could use for the future.
Ultimately, making connections to PR professionals is an essential part of attending these conferences. Don’t be afraid to talk to the speakers after the sessions to introduce yourself and ask questions! This will help make you stand out. After the conference, make sure to reach out on LinkedIn or email to connect with them even further. This conference could be the start of building lifelong career connections so take advantage of the opportunity and keep in touch with the people you meet!