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How does a student make the most out of attending a professional conference?

I'm going to be attending a Student Affairs professional conference in October, which will be my first ever attendance at a professional conference. I'm looking to make the most out of this experience and to develop good practices for attendance at future conferences, so I wanted to ask for some advice on how to make the most of this experience.

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Nicole’s Answer

Try to make sure your name tag is visible to the attendees and observe other attendees name tags. Often times the name tag is accompanied by the company, school and/or professional title. This is a great way to network and open up the channel of communication. I always look at the person’s name tag and extend a warm greeting and a hand shake.
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Meredith’s Answer

For the educational sessions that interest you, you should sit up front and be engaged by asking questions, etc. As noted in another response, it will be helpful to you to see who is attending and reach out to them if possible to make the most of your time. You should attend the networking sessions and start up conversations. One of the easiest ways to start up a conversation is to just ask questions about the other person. It does not have to be work related. Dress your best, smile and have fun with it. networking
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Kristen’s Answer

It is always helpful to study the attendee list! Figure out what your main goal is (i.e. networking, learning about a particular career, bettering your communication skills) and try to identify the attendees who are most likely to help you achieve that goal. Having specific targets will help you maximize your time.
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Daniel’s Answer

The most important thing is to meet people and be involved. Attend everything you can, and don't be afraid to make new friends, or ask questions. Though these can be great educational experiences, it is often the professional friendships and relationships you develop that in the long run pay the most dividends.
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