5 Tips from a Past National Conference Attendee

Nothing is more exciting than traveling and meeting new people, especially when you are alongside more than a thousand other people who love the public relations profession just as much as you do.

In 2009, I attended the PRSSA National Conference in San Diego, where I got my first inside look into the industry. Two years later, I now have the honor of serving on the 2011 National Conference Committee and have an even greater appreciation of what the Conference provides. Looking back on what I experienced as both a Conference attendee and now a Conference Committee director, I’ve identified some tips to make the most of your time at this year’s National Conference: Perception is Reality.

1. Network

Many professionals will be eager to answer your questions before and after the PRSA General Sessions. To maximize your networking opportunities, bring business cards and copies of your résumé. It’s the easiest way to share all your information and put a face to a name.

2. Explore

Venturing out into the city allowed me to interact with students and professionals on a more personal level. After the event, whether it’s on Twitter or Facebook, I’ve maintained relationships with many Conference attendees I met. Take advantage of all the magic Orlando has to offer. From shopping to entertainment, dining and thrill rides, there is never a shortage of exciting things to do or see.

3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

This year the conference will offer session favorites like entertainment, sports and fashion public relations. There will also be some new, inspiring sessions offered, such as creativity and storytelling. Don’t just stick to what you already know. It’s tough to choose with so many topics and sessions, but take a chance and attend a session topic you don’t know much about – you may be surprised.

4. Have Fun

Not everything has to be business. Take the time to enjoy the sights and meet the locals. Hang out with other attendees at lunch or after sessions and don’t be shy! When waiting in line at breakfast or walking to a session, say hi to the attendee next to you.

5. And Most Importantly – Register!

You can’t follow through with the other tips if you don’t register! Remember to register for the PRSSA 2011 National Conference online, by fax or by mail by September 12. Check out the National Conference website for details. PRSSA members get a special discount on registration!

What suggestions do you have for Conference attendees? What would you tell a first time Conference attendee?

This is a guest post from 2011 National Conference Committee Co-Director of Logistics, Bridget Bartol.

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