Net Impact Conference 2009 – Getting the Most Out Attending a Conference

ni-09-logoThe 2009 Net Impact conference at Cornell is just around the corner. So many choices – 120+ sessions, keynotes, expo center, cocktail receptions, and networking opportunities. The choices can overwhelming. Two days can seem like a lot of time, but it will fly by and you don’t want to be left wondering what happened. So what can you do to maximize your enjoyment, learning, and career impact? Follow the 3P’s – Plan, Prepare, and Polish!

For those of you planning to addend NI09, please get in touch with us! We’d love to meet you. If not, the 3P’s of conference planning still apply to other events you might have in the works:

Plan – First, sit down for a few quiet minutes and ask yourself a few questions: Why am I going? What do I hope to gain over the next few days? What one thing would make the entire experience worthwhile? Take the time to write down your desired outcomes and keep them handy. Second, review the list of breakout sessions. Create a short list by highlighting any and all sessions that peak your interest. Now look at the shortlist with your desired outcomes in mind. Select those sessions that best fit your overall goals.

Prepare – You have your conference goals. You have selected the sessions that help you achieve your goals. Now it’s time to prepare in advance. Is there a particular subject you are interested in? Do as much research and reading as you can to increase your engagement during the sessions. Are there people in particular you would like to meet? Look up there bio, review their website, LinkedIn profile, sign up to follow them on Twitter. Don’t forget to come prepared. Make a list of everything you need to bring – laptop (and charger), paper and pens, sticky notes, and if you want to network, make sure you have enough business cards to handout.

Polish – Just because the conference is over doesn’t mean you are done. Take the time to put the finishing touches on your experience. Make a list of all the post-conference actions you want to take – people to contact, websites to visit, information to send out. Organize your take-home materials. Summarize your learning, review any notes that you took, index and file the information you collected so that you can draw on it later. Make a list of all the people you met at the conference and send a quick e-mail to cement the contact. Follow-up with more in-depth e-mails, letters, or phone calls. Keep adding to and working through your action items, one step at a time. The follow-up puts the finishing touch on an exciting conference experience.

Conferences are a great way to learn the latest and greatest, network with the movers and shakers, and get powerfully motivated. Use the 3p’s = Plan, Prepare, and Polish to take advantage of everything the conference can offer.

Jennifer is a CPA, CMA, CIA, CFF with a passion for how sustainability can improve a business. She is the owner and President of The Sustainable CFO, making the world better one business at a time. The Sustainable CFO provides consulting, on-demand CFO services, and business coaching to sustainably themed small business. Jennifer has 24 years of experience improving the business operations for a variety of companies in industries such as construction, legal services, and hi-tech. She also teaches finance in the Green MBA program at Antioch University New England. You can visit the website at or follow her on twitter @sustainablecfo.

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