I recently came back from a knitting retreat (which I also hosted). Nearly 100 knitters gathered in middle Tennessee for a weekend of fun and fiber arts. Here’s a snapshot I took on my phone:
Have you ever been to a retreat or a conference, either in your personal or professional life? If so, you probably had a moment or two of feeling overwhelmed in the preparation stages! We’re here to help, with tips from the Interwebs.
How to Prepare for a Retreat or Conference:
1. Have a Plan –
How do you want to spend your time at the event? Do you plan to sign up for activities to fill every minute, or do you want to have plenty of time to relax or network? Try to map out your schedule ahead of time, and even write it down or plug it into your phone if you want. That way when you get to the event you won’t be so distracted by all the options that you forget the true purpose you had in coming in the first place.
2. Pack a layers-based wardrobe –
You just can’t always predict the weather. For the week leading up to my retreat, we were roasting in 90-degree heat. Then the retreat weekend came and the temperatures dropped by about 30-40 degrees. Yikes! It’s a good thing that knitters love to bundle up – it gave us all a chance to display our hand knitted cardigans, shawls, and hats. For your trip, make sure you pack layers – that way you can always add one or take one away if the weather gets a little wild. Even for an indoor event, you never know the temperature settings they’ll use for the thermostat, so it’s best to be prepared. Try to pack clothing that travels well (aka, doesn’t wrinkle too badly in a suitcase), looks good, and feels comfortable.
3. Make a list –
If you’re worried you’re going to forget something, make a list about a week before the event. That way you can add to it as you remember items to include, and when it comes time to pack your suitcase you won’t forget anything major.
4. Make contact –
Use your time at a retreat or conference to meet new people! Whether you’re just looking for friends or you want to find prospective business contacts, a retreat can be a great place to do that. Keep your business cards handy so you can exchange them with other retreat or conference attendees, and make sure to collect cards or contact information from the new people you meet, too. If all else fails, a small notebook stuck into your purse provides a place to jot down Twitter handles at a moment’s notice!
For more ideas on how to plan for a retreat or conference, check out these posts:
- Sew Many Things: Preparing for a Quilting Retreat
- Dear Handmade Life: How to Survive (and Thrive) at Conferences
- Gwen Bortner – 5 Tricks to Maximize Your Conference Experience
Do you have any tips for preparing for conferences and retreats? Share them with us in the comments below!