[tweetmeme source=laurenkgray only_single=false] When we all get back from a conference we are on SUCH a high from the things we learned, the people we met and the things we got to experience. This conference was no different, but it was all the difference.
I have NEVER connected with people so quickly and with people I will never forget. It was a once in a lifetime experience that will always have an effect on me.
The top five things from *sessions* I learned:
1. Recast yourself; Tell it on your own terms. (Why SM is not a career session)
- You define yourself and how you chose to be is your choice. Never make yourself something you're not and never let anyone define you. Be yourself!
2. Strategize and customize, create a plan and follow-up effectively. (Going Global session)
- Pick which SM platforms to create a plate and follow-up on everything you do. Pick something and stick with it. Encourage everyone. Use resources on your campus like professors, students, alumni and advisors.
3. Keep in contact with and connect with alumni and professionals.
- Never write "to whom it may concern," know who you are talking to and addressing. Make a communication CONNECTION. Have a networking dinner! Adopt a mentor! Keep in contact with alumni and professionals because you need their help and they are willing to help.
4. "You are the window through which people get information." - Jim Margolis (Keynote Speaker)
- Jim talked about Obama's campaign and all of his objectives. If you want to give people the information, you give it to them. You're the deliverer and it's in your hands. You choose the message and how it is conveyed. Be powerful with it!
5. "The sky is the limit, keep believing and you will be a star." - Bettina Luescher (WFP Keynote Speaker)
- Bettina talked about what Word Food Programme does around the world, the differences they make and the lives they change. You have to keep believing in yourself. We ALL have bad days, we are SUPER busy and we are ALWAYS stressed, but we have to rise above it! It will pay off!
Those are my major points as far as sessions go. Now for lessons I learned outside of the actual conference!
1. Always ask when you have questions.
- Sometimes we had NO idea where which metro we should be taking where and if you just ask people, they are usually willing to help. It's better than getting lost!! People are always helpful when asking directions or offering advice about local bars or restaurants.
2. People will always surprise you.
- Don't let first impressions scare you or bother you. Give people another chance and you never know if you will end up falling for them or becoming best friends with them :]
3. GET AWAY!
- Sometimes, I felt SO overwhelmed by the conference and so DRAINED going from session to session. It was good to get away for ONE afternoon to go to the national mall and see the national monuments with some amazing people! Don't skip every session or everyday, but do get a chance to get away!
4. Try new things!
- We were in a HUGE city on a street with a restaurant represented from SO many countries! We should never eat at the same restaurant twice in a place like that, unless it's Chipotle and we really love it ;] but don't be afraid to try all kinds of new restaurants and food!!
5. Keep in touch!
- I made some AMAZING friends who I will never forget and who really helped me out a LOT in D.C. and I'm continuing to talk to them because they are real friends you don't easily forget. Your PR friends will always know what you're going through and always be there to help, keep in touch with them!
Hope you guys all learned as much as I did and I hope to see ALL of you again next year!!