Thursday, May 4, 2017

Tips on What to Pack for a Conference

Presentation prepared. Handouts done. Tickets collected. All in preparation for my upcoming trip to Mexico City for the Association of Image Consultants International annual conference. I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge on Mastering the Media to Shine in the Spotlight with the attendees; hearing and seeing many fabulous speakers in action, connecting with my colleagues and learning skills to advance my profession. But one dilemma – what to wear?

Attending will be people who work in all aspects of image management from stylists to social media specialists, to media mavens, etiquette experts and executive leadership coaches. Even though we are all in the business of managing impressions, for many of us, and I’m sure you’ve faced this problem, it is always hard to know what to pack when attending a conference. Hope these few tips help.

Where and when is the first consideration. You might be attending a weekend conference on a tropical island or beach location or it may be mid-week in the city. Work out what would be appropriate for that setting. You still want to consider that you are usually attending a business conference so maybe smart business casual pants and top or dress shorts for men. Business wear is usually the choice for mid-week in the city.

Plan your outfits according to the program. If you are there for two days, two nights and on one of those nights you have a dinner or awards night, check the dress code. A LBD or other evening attire is often a safe choice to pack. Don’t forget to pack your active wear or swimwear to reenergise before or after the sessions on each day. Or if you’re staying on for sightseeing (like I will be in Mexico) factor that in.

The temperature of where you’re going may differ to your home town so check what that is and dress accordingly. Often conference rooms get a bit chilly so a light weight jacket or wrap to go with your clothing choices is advisable. It could also be worn on the plane on your travel day.

Dress for comfort but also style it up. Choose shoes you can wear all day and that look good. Pack accessories. A statement necklace or colourful scarf can liven up even the plainest of outfits. Your brand image is on display even in a casual environment so dress to enhance and express who you are. Professional, creative, leader, someone who takes pride – what would that look like?

Extra stuff. You’ll want to take notes of course. Choose what works for you – iPad, laptop or plain old note pad. Pens, chargers, power board and adaptor and plenty of business cards. Use the conference pack to put stuff in or a decent size handbag that’s not too heavy. Ladies take a smaller bag that doubles as an evening bag. Often I’ll take a plastic sleeved folder to put a copy of the program in and any handouts. I’ll use that for my itinerary and any notes and pop in receipts as I go along. You can also photograph everything, use Evernote or other myriad tech tools. Many conferences these days are paperless and have all information on an app or online. It goes without saying to pack your toiletries and cosmetics but keep to the minimum.

Pack light. Lay everything out, ensure that you have all you need and remember mix and match can go a long way. Carry or wear your bulkiest items while travelling and put everything else into one carry on cabin bag. I’ve only had one major disaster when I was attending a wedding (fortunately not speaking).On the afternoon of the day I arrived in town the baggage handlers went on strike and my bag was MIA for two days. I had to find a dress at the airport and have my makeup done there by the lovely ladies at the MAC counter. I wore the shoes, which didn’t match my outfit at all, that I had on. I didn’t feel or present my best that day. I now always try to travel with carry on or at least a change of clothing.

Need help with planning a wardrobe for a conference or the winter season coming up? Learn more about Executive Brand Image Consulting. If I can help you shine call now on 1300 723 713 or please contact me 

Read last week’s blog Ten Steps to Secure a Media Story

Sue Currie is a personal branding specialist providing solutions to business owners and organisations to boost their image, renown, brand and business. She is the founder of Shine Academy™, providing education and professional development training and Shine Agency™ a firm providing personal branding and public relations services to help businesses and entrepreneurs position and present an impactful professional brand. Through speaking, corporate workshops, and consulting, Sue helps businesses and individuals to stand out and shine.

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