10 ways to prepare for the LERN Annual Conference in New Orleans

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  1. Plan your agenda.NOLA Sheraton hotel

The brochure is out and with lots of new sessions and presenters, you’ll want to give yourself time to pick out what sessions will be best for you and your program. This is especially important if you’re attending the conference with another person from your organization.

  1. Submit your hard work for a LERN International Award.

Did your program achieve great things over the past year? Whether you put out an extraordinary brochure, gave back to the community or developed innovative new programming, you and your program should be recognized for that great work. You can read about last year’s winners here.

  1. Think about your goals for the next year.

What questions do you want answered at the conference? What kinds of obstacles do you plan on tackling in the next year? Thinking about these things before you arrive will help frame your thinking throughout the conference.

  1. Sign up for Mastering the LERN Model – especially if you’re a first timer.

This free, online pre-conference sessions will introduce you to LERN terminology that will be ubiquitous throughout the conference. You’ll also discover the 10 right questions to ask and other information that will make you conference experience a lot richer. Visit lern.org/conference for more information.

  1. Brush up on your networking skills.

A huge value of the LERN Annual Conference is the people who will be attending with you. Tap into the collective knowledge of the group by giving yourself a refresher on how to network the right way. This article from Forbes offers some great tips for making the most of the opportunity.

  1. Make sure you have plenty of up-to-date business cards.

This one goes hand-in-hand with the networking skills but making sure people can follow up with you after the event is an important piece of building a strong network.

  1. Scope out the area.

The sights, the sounds, and the food in New Orleans are not to be missed. Figure out how you’d like to spend your downtime by scoping out the area before you even check in. New Orleans Office Guide is a great resource where you can find things like an interactive map and tips from notable NOLA natives and other worldly folks.

  1. Consider signing up for a social event.

The three events – the French Quarter Walking Tour, the Hybrid City Tour and the Houmas House Plantation and Garden Tour – each offer a unique opportunity to experience this fascinating and historic city. If you’re already registered for the conference and would like to sign up for a social event, contact us at info@lern.org or (888) 678-5376.

  1. Connect ahead of time.

Attending solo? You’re not alone. Start a discussion in the LERN LinkedIn group or on the LERN Annual Conference Facebook event page to connect with other attendees ahead of time. Or, tweet that you’re a recreation/public schools/higher ed professional, and you’ll be attending #LERN15 and see if you can strike up a conversation that way.

  1. Start thinking about how you will share what you learned once you get back.

Maybe your boss will expect a presentation from you, maybe not, but sharing the knowledge you gained with others at your program is a great way to validate the expense of the conference and plant the seed for attending again in 2016. Think about wowing your colleagues by using a unique platform for the presentation, such as Prezi or HaikuDeck, for extra points.

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