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Jun. 02

Conference and Travel Tips

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Conference and Travel Tips

By April Welch, The Mental Clutter Coach

Today's post originally appeared on the VolunteerSpot blog on May 12, 2011.

Conference Travel Building on yesterday's article about preparing and packing for your conference - fast forward. You're in the midst of your conference and travel excursions connecting with colleagues, enjoying hotel amenities and taking in all the atmosphere has to offer. Although you realize you're exhausted, you still keep pushing because this is a once-a-year experience and you want to capitalize on the full experience!

Yup, I hear you! We've all been there. Usually this philosophy is followed by a vicious cold, fatigue for weeks and a to-do list that is haunting your self esteem.

So how does everybody else make it look so easy? Simple ... years of practice! Here are some of my veteran conference and travel tips that have been refined over the years:

How to Avoid Burnout During Conference and Travel

Pace Yourself

The excitement that builds up before heading off to a conference and travel environments are a breeding ground for conversations. Remember, you'll be having many conversations in the days to come ~ try saving your thinking power {and voice} for those.

Rest

This is a hard one, a conference and travel can be so over-stimulating that once faced with a pillow you may be too "wired" for sleep.

Consider a strategy for shutting down your brain:

    • Install a sleep music app on your phone
    • Bring a favorite movie to watch
    • Pack a travel candle of your favorite relaxing scent
    • Try to avoid anything that will continue to 'use brain cells' like:
      • Looking at the agenda for the next day
      • Talking to roommates until dawn
      • Getting all of your thoughts from the day into a journal {this should be done before relaxation begins}

Know Your Limit

While this is a helpful tip for adult beverage consumption, it is also a golden rule during conference and travel times too. It's important to know when you've hit your new information limit. The capacity of our brains differ in their size but never in their warning signals, we all have them and we all should listen when they are screaming for a break.

Worth Missing a Session?

Consider whether the conversation you're in can only happen now. Like say, speaking to a potential mentor who has a crazy busy schedule {and you're only getting their undivided attention because you are physically in one another's space}. Or can you continue this once back in your office via the phone or email {perfect environment when considering collaborating on an idea}.

Many professional conferences record their sessions. If you have the opportunity to purchase those recordings - do it. Not only is it helpful for referring back to {when you're less overwhelmed} but it can give you the necessary buffer to finish that great conversation.

If recordings aren't an option but the conversation is too good to leave, find someone who attended {as they leave the session} and ask to review their notes. I'll often ask "What was your one biggest takeaway from the session?". This is a great conversation starter and allows you to hear their opinion of the experience.

Arriving Home, Ready to Resume Normal Life

As you wrap up your conference and travel journey you may want to consider your "re-entry" strategy.

If you are not driving take the travel time to:

  • Catch up on sleep
  • Review new contacts made
  • Strategize your follow up plan
  • Brainstorm new ideas
  • Be quiet

If you are driving home:

  • Consider a voice recording device to "dump" all your thoughts into
  • Play non-stimulating music
  • Take in your surroundings, are the trees blooming - do the cars have out-of-state plates - what's the one thing in each city you drive through that stands out?

Remember, life still went on while you were gone. And it isn't waiting for you to be ready to catch up. A recent client of mine shared this:

“Last year my husband was faced with a sick cat needing to go to the vet ... while I was 5 states away! Of course, the situation was dealt with, but I came home to a routine that began without me. I now needed to observe and listen for my place, hard to do since I'm usually the one updating my husband in these types of circumstances.”

When you arrive at your own doorstep prepare yourself for the initial energy to receive everyone who missed you, including the jumping dog, then find the nearest recliner and glue yourself to it.

Tomorrow is all about the days following your arrival home from conference and travel. Gentle re-entry strategies, follow up techniques and implementing the momentum from the experience.

Keepin' it Tidy,

April

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You may also like: Conference Planning, Packing and Other Preparation Tips


Aprilwelch042011
April is a Mental Clutter Expert | Mom of 2 boys | Lover of Tutus | Wife to 1 Fireman | Horrible Cook | Loyal Friend | National Public Speaker who gives you permission to be imperfect.

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