Know the program schedule completely. It would help you in fashioning your expectations in a perceptive way. Only if you are well aware of the detailed program schedule, you can know what academic preparation you need beforehand to actively participate.
Select the sessions that you think would be most productive in your perspective. There is no point being there at the talks which are of no, absolute or relative, use to you.
Make is a point to get the basic idea about the conference probable participants. You may catch up with someone you have been looking forward to meet since long. It is always advisable to attend a conference with one of your colleagues; it would not just add you a company, but also help you in thin-slicing the essence of the sessions.
Try to be there for the entire duration of the conference. It doesn’t appear gentle when you attend a conference on the last day and come out with the certificate in your hands. A conference is a group effort to make progress for a vital cause; make your contribution by lending keen ears and wide pupils.
Carry a bag with you that contains a notepad, few pens and may be some hand books. Of course, you would be provided a kit, as soon as you settle down in your seat, with all the essential tools right in place to help you making notes; but then why to take a chance? I feel a lot of people feel best in holding their own pens, scribbling down in their own notepads.
Keep a check on your behavior. Don’t sound standoffish. Behave cordially and display a keen and pleasant personality. You have the power to make someone’s day. Ask pertinent questions and get involved in rendering replies.
Make it a point to know the route directions a day prior to the actual conference day. Eat light the night before and sleep sound. Aim to keep your concentration levels high the coming day.
Keep your business cards with you. In a conference a lot of professional people meet and business cards exchange hands. I remember I was in Boston few years back in SLS (Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgery) Conference, and I exhausted my reserve of business cards. It was not one of the best sights to watch me writing my contact details on small white sheets, provided by the conference coordinator.
Take a keen interest in conference materials (CDs, books, products) that are kept for purchase. Roam around the stalls with intuitive mind. You might find something extremely productive for your profession right there; always keep a budget for such expenses.
Don’t forget to thank the people around who made this conference possible. The high and mighty, the successful subordinates, the amateurish interns, and the people who had been serving you with snacks – all deserve an equal bow.