Last weekend I attended the outstanding conference for Public Speakers: the PSA Inspire. It included outstanding speakers (of course), workshops, meeting the experts, networking and two dinners.
Of course there is amazing content and the stimulation to your mind is second to none if you are in this industry. However, there is a downside to this, in that it is EXHAUSTING and unless you take care pacing yourself, you will miss out on what the conference can offer.
There are plenty of top tips on how to make the most of conferences, but it is JUST as important to know when to have a break. In the case of this excellent conference, we arrived on Friday morning and started at 10am; we didn’t leave until 2.30pm on the Sunday. Unless you consciously consider having some ‘down time’, your energy levels dip considerably!
Here are some top tips to pacing yourself at a conference.
You are what you eat. When you get tired, it can be easy to reach for the cookies; both at the coffee breaks and in your room. This gives a quick energy boost, then a massive energy drop! Make sure you select salads, fruit and vegetables within the catering options at the breaks. If necessary, bring some healthy snacks, such as dried fruit, and seeds, that are easily transportable.
Drink plenty of water. There are likely to be strong lighting and air conditioning in the building, and both cause you to become dehydrated easily. You might mistake being dehydrated for being hungry, but try drinking water first.
Find time to escape! You don’t have to be in every session. Leave the building and have a walk around the grounds for some fresh air and headspace.
Before attending the conference, plan the speeches and workshops you REALLY want to attend, and if necessary the people you REALLY want to see. Plan your schedule around this, so if you need to take a break you will avoid missing these.
Late night drinking: yes! I know it is great fun to meet your friends and colleagues and drink until the early hours. If you are going to do this, remember to alternate alcoholic drinks with water, to avoid a serious hangover!