I presented at ASTD ICE in Dallas this week and decided to take full advantage of the conference registration too.

I quickly realized I was out of “conference attendee 101” practice. Conferences are all about how many technology, frameworks, strategies, steps, and principles we can file into our little minds. It is overwhelming. At the end of yesterday, my head was left with a raging headache and way too much stimulation for this introvert.

So, today, I had to regroup and approach it as the conference attendee veteran I knew I could be. I slept in a bit, identified the sessions I thought I could get the most bang for my buck, left sessions in the first 10 minutes if they didn’t grab me, and concentrated on note “making” rather than note “taking”.

How can you get the most out of a conference? Instead of being overwhelmed by the technology, frameworks, strategies, steps, principles, focus on note making. So, what is the difference between note taking and note making? Note taking is writing down what the speaker says. Note making is creating a list of how you apply what you are hearing or ideas that are sparked as you listen to the speaker.

Personally, I use Microsoft® OneNote to take notes on my iPad and I have one note where I list the ideas I have right when I hear the speaker say something. As soon as I have an idea sparked, I type into the note. Now, this will enable me to have a to-do list when I return from the conference.

Do others do something similar? What are your conference attendee veteran best practices?