5 Ways to Avoid Information Overload at a Conference

conference take notes

It's easy to feel intimidated by the sensory and information overload at a conference. These strategies will help keep stress at bay and maximize your experience.

  • Preschedule posts for the duration of your conference. Instead of throwing a post together during downtime, have a few queued up to publish. You can always write additional posts if you have unexpected free time or a burst of creativity.
  • Leverage live-tweeters. Conference attendees often live-tweet a panel, and many of these tweets repeat quotes, ideas and sound bites. Use this to your advantage: save a Twitter search for your conference's hashtag, scan it periodically and click the Favorite button next to particularly informative tweets. To see these sequestered tweets in one place, head to twitter.com/username/favorites. This method enables you to devote your energy to being present and soaking up the in-person experience without hustling to take notes or type faster than the other live-tweeters.
  • Stay hydrated. Even marginal dehydration can cause your brain to produce hormones that create feelings of stress. Drink plenty of water to combat this stress bias and the dehydrating effects of air conditioning, coffee and alcohol.
  • Network efficiently. Capture the contact information you've gained while your connection is still fresh with a free business card-scanning app like CardMunch. This service uses your phone's camera to capture business card information in seconds. You can sync your CardMunch contacts with your phone contacts and even follow up through LinkedIn.
  • Schedule breaks and downtime. Even packed conference schedules have breaks or skippable sessions. Recognize when you need to disappear for a power nap or some alone time and do it.

How do you stave off information overload at a conference?