The 2016 Essence Festival was one of the most powerful events that I've ever experienced. It was something so magical about there being so many outstanding and inspiring Black people, but in particular, Black women. We were there and representing as small business owners, beauty experts, financial planners, lifestyle influencers, natural haircare guru's and stylish attendees among others. I have to be honest, and admit that I immediately had that feeling of "that's going to be me one day."
With so many amazing conferences coming up, I would like to share three quick tips that one should make note of before attending.
Three tips for attending festivals
1. Maneuver with purpose
If the conference is designed for you to select which components you will attend, create a schedule. Know which specific events and workshops that you want to take advantage of, and physically draw numbers next to them in the pamphlet noting which you would like to go to, and in what order. This will allow for you to remain organized and orderly.
2. Be prepared
Know why you are interested in attending that particular workshop or panel, and what you are interested in taking from it. Additionally, know who you will be listening to if possible, and do a little research on them ahead of time. Be sure to come with a means to take notes, and business cards!!! You should have business cards on you no matter where you are, but especially at functions where you could be connected to people in the industry.
I've always heard that half the battle is showing up, but the other half is following-up. Now that you've generated theses contacts, use them! Remind them of who you are, and be intentional with your request. Did you two talk about a specific position? Did they ask to see your resume, or is this simply someone that you would like to keep in your rolodex? Either way, be sure to make an ask.
In the next couple of days I will scour the internet and create a list of good events to attend, but hopefully this will give a good start on how to prepare in the meantime.