A Convention Guide for Career Girls

Posted May 15, 2014 by Carolyn Stroud in On the Ladder
Conventions and business travel can be hectic and harrowing for sure. But they can also be full of great opportunities to meet new people, see new places, push your comfort zone and learn more about your industry.

As I plan my meeting schedule (and wardrobe!) for the biggest convention of my career to date, I can’t help but feel slightly overwhelmed. I’m afraid I’ll forget something, embarrass myself or pass out from sheer exhaustion. Fortunately, I’ve been to some smaller junkets and feel infinitely more prepared than I did the first time around. Here are my top tips (and those I’ve gathered from more experienced Career Girls) for making the most of these amazing learning opportunities.

  • Be Prepared

I’m a big fan of making lists. This includes the all-important packing list and having a paper copy of my schedule. With multiple phones, activities and meetings, there is always a lot to remember. Don’t leave everything for the last minute and maybe even compare your list with that of a coworker. Additionally, don’t forget to hydrate! Pack a water bottle (and a few granola bars) to keep you stimulated, satiated and free of hunger pangs when you can’t get to a meal on your own time frame.

  • Connect

Resist the urge to feel like you need to network. Instead, make connections. Be friendly, outgoing and genuine. Talk to everyone, regardless of what you think they can do for you. Hopefully you’ll be introduced to and surrounded by incredibly interesting people from whom you can learn a great deal. Plus, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with your new connections, which will make next year’s convention that much more enjoyable.

  • Do Something New

Just one thing. Whether it’s eating a new food, seeing the sights or going to an interesting lecture, this can be an ideal time to push the envelope. Take advantage of being in a new environment and surrounded by people you won’t necessarily meet again by doing something outside of your comfort zone. I guarantee you’ll gain knowledge, confidence and perhaps a new perspective or a great story.

  • Get Comfortable

Relax. Be you! Shake off the nerves. And always dress the part. Make sure you love the outfits you pack and that everything is mended, clean, and fits well. Don’t forget to check the weather beforehand and always pack at least one pair of comfortable shoes. Embellished ballet flats can be just as appropriate as and far less painful than the stilettos you may regularly flaunt around town. Feeling like the confident Career Girl you are is more than half the battle!

About the Author

Carolyn Stroud

Carolyn Stroud works in finance at a commercial real estate firm in Chicago. Her previous experience includes mortgage banking, leasing, running a start-up and captaining an adult co-ed kickball team. Originally from Detroit, she has an undergraduate degree from Kalamazoo College and an MBA from Pepperdine University. Carolyn is a voracious reader and passionate about growing outside her comfort zone. She recently completed her second marathon and is always up for a challenge.