This year I decided to shake life up a bit. Instead of attending a typical industry conference, I headed to Houston with a bag of snacks, my favorite rhino notebook, and a portable phone charger in tow to explore a women’s conference. I’d venture to say that I was the only publicist there, and that made the setting just perfect for me. The conference included three jam-packed days and nights devoted to women’s empowerment, wholeness, and rejuvenation. Somehow rejuvenation was supposed to come with fewer than four hours of sleep each night, but who was really counting?
After taking a much-needed nap on the plane ride back home, I thought I’d jot down a few takeaways and reasons you should consider going to a non-industry conference this year.
1. Your Chair Needs a Break … and You Do, Too!
On average, you most likely spend five or six hours in your chair staring at a screen – email, social sites, and of course work product – and this is not healthiest way to live. Your body and mind need some R&R, and it’s essential to get out of your usual element to do something you have rarely or never done. I traveled out of Florida to a city I’d never visited, which allowed me to be excited about the journey and gave me the chance to explore a new place and find some cool eats along the way.
2. The Best Ideas are Rarely Found in the Office.
Some of the best ideas are found beneath unturned stones. They are usually apparent to the naked eye but often aren’t located in our normal settings. From the time I got into the rental car, my brain had a chance to rest and be open to new ideas. Instead of preparing for the next call or project, I was able to meditate on my mental process to think about how I could better interact with people and catch up on the many NPR podcasts I’ve stockpiled over the last month. Your next great idea may come from the most unexpected sources while you’re traveling – an in-flight magazine, the local newspaper, or a local news channel.
3. The More You Know, the More You’ll Grow.
A plant cannot survive with old water. It always needs a new supply. The same applies for you and mental growth at work. I’d recommend that before you leave home, jot down some key topics or skills you’d like to learn while at the conference. You’ll have an expectation for what you want to go learn and then have tangible skills or insights to share with your team. And if you have time, try to chat with at least five people to learn more about who they are, what they are currently reading, and why they are there.
4. Content is Everything.
While you’re away, be sure to take photos for your personal and your job’s social accounts. There’s something exciting about sharing your travels and creating a hashtag for people to follow. This will help position you as someone to watch, and make you a benefit to the company by creating original content.
Top Essentials to Pack
- Business cards
- Notebook and two pens
- Jacket for the plane and the conference – it’s typically very cold in both places
- Packaged snacks – everything is expensive at convention centers
- Portable phone charger
Senior Account Manager | Orlando
Major is a seasoned publicist with a background in consumer goods and culinary PR. She’s a New York native turned Orlandoan and graduate of the University of Central Florida. When she’s not pitching and strategizing, she can be found working out, volunteering, or exploring a new city. Major became a Sachs Media rhino in May 2016.