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Conference 101: How to Enjoy and Thrive at Your First Professional Conference

Your quick guide on how to enjoy and thrive at your first professional conference!

The time has finally arrived—your first-ever business conference! As someone who attended TU-AMA's 10th Annual Conference last year, I can promise you there is nothing to be afraid of. However, this may be a new experience for you, so I asked our E-Board for some quick conference advice. Here is your guide to get the most out of TU-AMA's 11th Annual Conference.

  • "Be confident in your ability to approach other chapters and professionals! This is your time to showcase your skills and network with amazing companies and people. Being involved and vocal is key!" (Anjali Popli, President).

  • "Meet with your mentor! They can run through what to expect and even do some networking practice with you" (Jane Kobylinski, Vice President).

  • "Sit with someone new, even at a new school—you never know who is at your table." (Natalie Diedericks, Director of Social Impact).

  • "Bring a notebook, and research the companies and speakers beforehand, so you know what to expect from the event. Have potential questions/topics you're interested in!" (Elena Rossetti, Director of Membership).

  • "Networking can be a scary thing, but just remember that we are all human. Each person in the interaction has the same goal of getting to know each other. Treat it as a normal interaction and be as personable as possible. Be a sponge for learning. These are industry professionals with valuable insights and advice for college students. Listen carefully to what they have to say to you and make the most of it." (Abhijit Choudhury, Director of Chapter Operations).

  • "Be confident when networking! Don't feel intimidated or feel as though anything you have to say or ask is stupid; it's not!" (Isabella Mont, Director of Media Relations).

  • "Research the companies coming to speak at the conference and think of some questions you would like to ask them after their speaker sessions!" (Carly Stinson, Director of Corporate Sponsorship).

  • "Have fun! Understand that everyone in the room is probably a little nervous too, so don't be afraid to introduce yourself, whether it's to the people at your table or the speakers. A huge benefit of this event is getting to talk to other AMA members you didn't have the chance to get to know at our regular meetings." (Sarah Maher, Director of Internal Communications).

  • "Text your mentors for any advice! If you are still searching for your outfit, Old Navy has good trousers, and ASOS has a good petite section." (Alexia Fotopoulos, Director of Social Impact).

  • "Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and start conversations! This can be with industry speakers, E-board directors, and other members. It will really improve your experience at the conference, and who knows, maybe you'll make a great connection!" (Madeline Collyer, Director of Membership).

  • "Be genuine and try! You have nothing to lose from having a conversation, no matter how big or small it ends up being!" (Joe DelGrippo, Director of Cherry Consulting).

  • "Come ready to network! Do research on some of the attending companies beforehand to have talking points, and ask questions at the end of speaker sessions. Business professional means suits for men and suits or skirts that go below the knee for women!" (Skylar Sheely, Director of Professional Development).

  • "Make sure to actively listen to the speakers and develop questions based on their presentations. When networking with them, speakers will appreciate the effort put into listening and making connections with what they're saying." (Mara Ginsberg, Director of External Communications).

  • "Practice your elevator pitch and be confident in your abilities when introducing yourself. Confidence is key!" (Skyy Peperno, Director of Cherry Consulting).

  • "Set a goal for yourself! Have two or three people you want to interact and network with and introduce yourself. Everyone is there to meet new people, so don't be uncomfortable!" (Sam Elfenbein, Director of Cherry Consulting).

  • "Embrace the uncomfortable! Pushing yourself to try new things and face what challenges your comfort zone will be the key to personal growth. Don't allow discomfort to prevent you from asking questions, talking to new people, and participating in something new." (Avery Bumsted, Director of External Communications).

  • "Research is just as important as showing up! Come to the conference with some background knowledge on our guest speakers and their companies to better prepare for questions and networking." (Darren Henderson, Director of Professional Development).

  • "Take the time the night before and in the morning for personal care! It is important to make sure you put your best foot forward and be as presentable and prepared as can be!" (John Brownlee, Director of Sponsorship).

  • "Conference is a fantastic opportunity to meet others, learn about the marketing industry, and experience the professional world. Whether you are going for 45 minutes or 4 hours, remember to take notes, be confident, and put yourself out there! It's a super fun day too, so don't forget to relax and enjoy yourself!" (Devon Robinson, Director of Professional Development).

Your first professional conference will be an exciting and rewarding experience. I hope the advice from our E-Board directors has helped emphasize the importance of confidence, preparation, and initiating genuine interactions with fellow attendees, speakers, and industry professionals. Remember, the event is not just an opportunity for learning and networking; it's also a chance to further connect with those around you.With the right mindset and these valuable tips, you're well-equipped to navigate your first conference and truly enjoy it. We can’t wait to see you all there!

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