“Simplify to Boost Your Learning for Your Next Online Conference” by Joan Y. Edwards
Here are ways to simplify things to boost your learning for your next online conference. I wrote this with writers and illustrators in mind. However, you can adapt these ideas to benefit you no matter what your profession is. It’s in 3 parts: before the conference, during the conference, and after the conference.
I hope that by attending an online conference, you’ll learn a new skill or marketing technique that inspires you to reach new levels in your career. I hope a few of my ideas simplify things so you learn more at your next online conference.
Before the Conference
- Register for the conference. (A few are listed in the resources area at the bottom.)
- Fix a profile page and information to use when sending emails and in response to emails sent through the conference site with your email, website, blog, buy book link, etc. If you haven’t set up a signature for your personal email, do this now. Microsoft Outlook let’s you make different signatures with images or without images.
- What skill do you most want to improve? Attend the workshop(s) that will help you improve that skill. The online conferences I’ve attended have many more workshops than you can possibly absorb during the allotted time period. Choose one to three workshops. The first time I participated in an online conference, I overdid it. I signed up for about 15 workshops. That was way too many to focus on. I was neither a master of one nor did I learn much from one workshop.
- Visit the webpages of at least three of the presenters that interest you. Study the information about them. Check out their books at your local library or on an online book store.
- If you have specific questions for presenters, write them down on 3×5 cards and ask them during the workshops. You can usually write presenters during the conference with the conference email. If it’s after the conference, check their website for contact information. Put the name of the conference in the subject.
- Before the conference, check the website for handouts for the workshops. Usually they are in PDF format. You can download the ones from the workshop you’ve chosen. I suggest downloading as many as you’re interested in. The handouts are only listed for a month or so. You can read and save or discard later.
- Giveaways – If you’re a presenter for an online conference, you can give gifts (free pdf files, image logos, cover images of your book) Sometimes a writer gives critique discounts for participants.
- Buy a new spiral notebook with a bright colorful design or a composition book with a black and white cover. This way all of your notes are in one place. Or you can set up a file and type your notes from the class, handouts, or comments on the computer.
- Buy two pens that are dependable and write just the way you like a pen to write. Put them by your computer along with sticky notes. Make note of brainstorms you receive during the workshop on the sticky notes.
- Write a pitch for three of your manuscripts. Print out your pitches on 3×5 cards, 4×6 inch cards, or plain 8.5 x 11 printing paper. Put them by your computer. Practice giving your pitch in front of a mirror. Use eye contact. Memorize it.
- If they have publishers or agents who are scheduling online chat pitches, sign up for one with the publisher or agent you believe would work well for your manuscript.
- Wear comfortable clothing. You can even do the online conferences in your pajamas. Wear your favorite colors to keep your spirits high. It’s important for you to be comfortable and empowered.
- Check your laptop, iPad, or iPhone that you plan to use during the conference. Charge its battery each day of the conference.
- Get plenty of sleep. Be prepared to get hyped up. You may get into a writing spree.
At the Conference
- List things for which you are thankful each morning of the conference.
- Eat healthy fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Drink plenty of water. This will keep you alert and focused.
- Enjoy yourself and learn as much as you can, but don’t overdo it. Choose one to three and focus on learning as much as you can from these.
- Take notes using your new spiral notebook or composition book or take notes on your laptop or other device.
- Many times people in the forum leave comments for the instructor and the participants. Feel free to comment or send a private email to them to ask a question related to their comment. Here are questions to get you started:
“What are you writing?”
“Are you in writing group? Is it online or face-to-face?”
“How do you find time to write (illustrate)?”
“Do you (draw) write best in the morning or at night?”
- If you have a scheduled pitch with an agent or publisher during the conference, follow the guidelines. Pitch sessions are usually held in a private chat room. You may only have 10 minutes to hook the publisher or agent. If the directions say share a 50-word pitch, do that. Don’t squeeze in a 200 word pitch into a five or ten minute pitch session. Your time might run out before you’ve finished. Be ready to tell how you plan to help market your book and why you’re the best person to write this story. In a chat room, usually you can put four lines of text at one time. You can practice in the chat rooms ahead of time or use http://www.Chatsy.com. You can set up your own room there and practice with a friend or alone.
7. Take a short walk for exercise after completing a lesson. Walk inside or outside – 5 minutes away from the computer and 5 minutes to walk back to the computer is invigorating.
- Many times online workshops have chat sessions at the end – during the weekend. It’s usually a highlight review of the workshop. It’s a good time to ask a presenter to clarify a few points. Sometimes they offer a copy of the chat sessions. You can also copy and paste a chat session yourself.
- Thank the presenters and the organizers for what you liked about the conference. Make suggestions for improvements.
- If you a book inspires you at the workshop, buy it or order it from your public library.
After the Conference
- Sleep, if you’re tired. Accept yourself and others as you are. Focus on what you want. Be thankful for what you have. Be grateful for where you are. Put the fun back into your writing.
- After you’ve rested, read and organize your notes from the workshops in which you participated. Edit your notes and add information from your handouts. Write at least three major things you learned from each workshop. You can write down more details if you want.
- After this information soaks into your mind, body, and spirit, write/revise three writing goals using the skills and information you learned.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2013-2017 Joan Y. Edwards
Last revised: November 20, 2017