Connections Accelerate Your Professional Development
COLLABORATE 17 is right around the corner, and we hope we will see you for a week of education and networking. Here are five tips to help energize your professional development efforts at the conference:
1. Start your planning early and lay out your goals first.
Planning to attend a conference early will help you save money on hotels, conference registration and transportation costs. It is also important to start planning goals for what you want to achieve at the conference. Planning both aspects can also help you justify your attendance to a boss. Examples of goals should include a combination of educational and networking opportunities. Is your company planning an upgrade? Make it a goal to find and attend the most important sessions to help you with the process. Looking to grow your network? Vow not to leave until you make ten new friends.
COLLABORATE 17 advice: If you are planning to attend COLLABORATE 17, you can still save money by registering by March 29. Use our helpful planning documents, including an expense spreadsheet to calculate the ROI of your attendance for your manager.
2. Use technology to support your plan.
Now that you have your goals, don't wait until you're putting on that conference badge to assemble your itinerary. Review the events, and make a list of everything you want to attend. This is where going with at least one colleague might be helpful as you and your colleague can split the sessions to gain even more insights to take back to the office. And, reach out to fellow attendees you have met before to schedule a group meeting or a small one-on-one coffee meetup. Time flies once you are at a conference, and planning ahead helps you get the most out of educational sessions and networking opportunities.
COLLABORATE 17 advice: Use the conference agenda builder and mobile app to build your schedule and connect with fellow attendees before and at the conference. And, follow COLLABORATE on Twitter for helpful advice and updates before and during the conference.
3. Find the networking programs.
Networking is essential to your success, but how do you get started? Conferences always have opportunities to network at prescheduled events. Review the networking events to find ways to collaborate. And, remember to build both bonding and bridging capital while at the conference. Someone who works with a different product line or in a different industry might just help spark that new idea to bring back to the office.
COLLABORATE 17 advice: Visit the website to find four days of networking events. Attend the OAUG Welcome Reception to network with other OAUG attendees, find a group that meets back home at Geo Land, join the Special Interest Group sessions to find attendees that are interested in similar topics and learn from your peers and mentors at the OAUG Young Professionals Cocktail Meetup (make sure to RSVP).
4. Work the room.
Networking can happen anywhere at a conference, not just at prescheduled events. Use breaks in the educational tracks or the deep dive sessions to get to know others. Use the time before the session to start a conversation with someone near you, or connect with the speaker after the presentation is over. Network with other attendees in the hallways, and don't forget to do the same in the exhibit hall. Remember that opportunities to strike up a conversation happen all over the conference.
COLLABORATE 17 advice: Grab the networking buttons and wear your ribbons. The buttons are helpful ways to start a conversation with the people around you that might have a similar topic of interest. If you see people with ribbons that mention a leadership role that you are interested in, ask that person how they got involved. And, remember to bring plenty of your business cards!
5. Remember to follow up.
Networking doesn't stop at the conference, and relationships only develop when you continue the conversation. Reach out after the conference with a follow-up email to each person you met. Taking notes on the back of business cards will help you remember what you discussed when you get back to the office. And, if you promised to follow up on an idea, discussion or contact, now is the time to deliver on your promise.
COLLABORATE 17 advice: Networking at COLLABORATE can continue at events all year long. OAUG Geographic and Special Interest Groups and the OAUG Young Professionals Forum have events all year long. Use these future events to help follow up with new contacts and meet again in the year.
We hope these insights will help make conferences a high-impact part of your professional development plan, and remember to join the OAUG Young Professionals Forum to connect and grow as a new professional. We hope to see you soon in Las Vegas!
The OAUG Young Professionals Forum gives those just beginning their career with Oracle Applications a chance to engage with peers, discuss challenges and learn from guest speakers. Everyone is invited to participate.