June 6, 2023

I'm on my way to the International Herb Symposium today, which is my first conference since COVID started.

I find events like these both thrilling and entirely overwhelming.

I have three big tips? mottoes? personal guidelines? for attending conferences that I thought I'd share here, both as a reminder to myself and in case it's helpful for anyone else who's attending the IHS or another similar gathering soon.

  1. Have a great conversation or introduce myself to 1-2 new people per day, especially people who don't seem to know many others at the event. I try to remember my first herb conference and how hard it was to meet people, and then think about how I can help welcome new folks into the community. Especially when I'm teaching and when I know tons of people, it's easy to stay in the bubble and only talk to people I already know. I think it's super important to make some new friends, too. (I wrote a blog post about kindness + conferences in 2014 that explains a bit more about this.)
  2. It is 100% acceptable to skip one or more sessions to be by yourself or have some down time. Because these events are so condensed, it can feel like I should maximize the experience by going to everything. However, there's only so much a brain can take in at once. I learn better and interact more genuinely when I'm calm(er) and more regulated.
  3. Take personal notes at the end of each day (or each 1/2 day if your memory is not so great, like mine). In real time, it seems like I'll remember my conversations & key learning points forever. The day after the conference ends, though, it all becomes a bit blurry. In the week after I return home, I like to reach out to folks I saw or met, but I need to remember who they were and what we talked about in order to do that . It works better for me if I have just a quick recap of each day to build from.

Do you have similar tips or guidelines that you apply to conference attendance? I'd love to hear them. Feel free to hit reply.

Take care,

Camille


p.s. If you'll be at the IHS, I'll be teaching a class on the transformative power of perimenopause at 2 pm on Saturday and another on ethical marketing at 9 am on Sunday. I'd love to see you there or out & about 

About Camille Freeman, DCN, RH (she/her)

Hi there! I'm a clinical herbalist and nutritionist specializing in fertility and menstrual health. I run the Monday Mentoring community of practice and also offer continuing education programs for practicing herbalists and nutritionists (Check out this year's Deep Dive!). I'm also a former professor with the Maryland University of Integrative Health, where I taught physiology, pathophysiology, and mindful eating for 17 years. 

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