Advice line: conferences and events

Tips on making the most of conferences and events

Conferences and large events that take us away from our work routine provide a really valuable learning opportunity. Typically, they offer a chance to hear from experienced leaders, clinicians or researchers and to find out about the latest thinking on a particular topic. But they can offer so much more – if we let them.

If you haven’t attended many – or any – of these types of events, it can be an intimidating experience. You might feel imposter syndrome creeping in, or as if your role is to be lectured to. Most people will have had an experience like that in their professional learning journey.

But the real opportunity is to have a combined learning, sharing and networking experience. Yes, the content of sessions is designed to impart knowledge but the delegates attending with you have important knowledge and experience to share as well – as do you.

So why not make a plan and set yourself personal objectives for attending? This might include making sure you know what sessions you want to attend before you arrive, thinking about whether there is anyone or any network you would like to meet, or challenging yourself to ask a question in a session. By setting yourself personal objectives linked to sharing, networking and learning you’ll be able to reflect on your successes afterwards.

Physiotherapy UK is a great safe space to try this out. There is an opportunity to meet CSP staff, Council members, professional and regional network representatives and exhibitors, and delegates from across the UK. From the conversations I’ve had in preparation for the conference, all of these groups are excited to learn, share and network with you as well.

There will also be support available to help you try new things, whether that is a first attempt at using Twitter or the opportunity to find out more about what the CSP and networks have to offer.

Remember, there is nothing wrong with enjoying an educational conference or event. You can discover personal achievements, make new friends and forge professional links. We look forward to seeing you in Birmingham.

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