The International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP) had their annual conference in Washington, DC this year.

You know what that means.  It means I had to be there!  I live in the DC metro area, so I was delighted to spend 4 days with a group of folks that love visual thinking as much as I do.

Here are 5 ways to make the most out of your next conference.  I will use IFVP as an example, so here we go…

  1. Have a Plan.  Conferences can be overwhelming, especially when it spans several days.  One hack I tried that worked very well for me is setting an intention each day.  Each day before I arrived, I determined what I wanted to practice and what I wanted to learn from others.  For example, on Day2 I wanted to practice graphic recording using my iPad.   At the end of each day I felt a huge sense of accomplishment because I was focused and intentional.
  2. Participate.  The best way to learn is to DO.  After all, that’s why you are at the conference.  I know it’s tough, especially when sessions run one after the other and it seems like you have a IV drip of coffee.  Make an effort to participate no matter how small.  Ask questions during your sessions, talk with your neighbor, and jump in on the exercises and group activities.  That’s what I did and it always helped me connect with the people at my table.
    Group exercise - drawing - IFVP Arlington, VA

    Group exercise for building a mobile.

    IFVP Mobile Graphic Recording Arlington, VA

    Completed mobile. WOW. Designed by Team Sculptures

     

  3. Make time to meet up.  Conferences are the perfect time to meet up with friends you don’t see often.  The best advice I have for this is to plan before the conference.  Find out who is attending and connect with them early so you can make plans for a morning walk or happy hour.  I was so happy to see my buddies from the #CincyTakesOnPoverty project.Friends IFVP Arlington, VA
  4. Talk to the Vendors.  The vendors participating at a conference can give you fresh ideas on how to help your clients. They also have insight on trends in your industry, so learn what’s hot and what’s not from them.  You can usually buy supplies, get significant discounts and save on shipping.
    Neuland Markers Graphic Recording Tools Supplies

    Neuland was in the house, so that means stock up on ink and markers. I picked up my free gift too, love the marker bag!

    Scribes-to-GO Printing Graphic Recording

    Scribes-To-Go shared ideas on using print materials to make our events POP!

  5. Have Fun!  Look at this crowd.  Yes, the photographer told us to say cheese or something like that.  But we were all genuinely having FUN together.  Such a supportive community to be a part of.  The conference theme came true in this picture for us, United We Scribe!

What’s your best tip for getting the most out of a conference? Please share and comment below.

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Lisa

Visual Thinker | Graphic Recorder | Sketchnote Artist at See In Colors
Lisa Nelson loves to combine art with life. Lisa captures conversations with hand-drawn pictures so people can "see" what's being said. Her visual summaries range from business and leadership to community and faith. Her work has been featured in Entrepreneur, Ogilvy & Mather, and Social Media Week. She works locally in the Washington, D.C. area and world-wide.
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