Tips to get back in the groove for in-person conferences

Made for the membership by the America’s SBDC Marketing & Communications Committee

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Bring a reusable bottle to fill for the plane/car and refill often while at the conference. We haven’t spoken to this many people in person at conferences for a while so quench that thirst. If staying onsite it’s important to note that the hotel doesn’t provide bottled water. Grab your water bottle before you go, fill it up at the airport on your way and use it onsite with the meeting water stations and stay healthy.

Mirror, mirror

Practice your “Hi, I’m SO glad to see you” face and arm movements when you login to a Zoom meeting or in front of your bathroom mirror. The bathroom mirror may be less awkward for others.


For the last two years, you went from meeting to meeting without leaving your seat/office. Practice getting back into the groove of walking around the conference hall by putting on your work shoes and going to the mall. Walk around from store to store like you're walking from session to session. Then buy a new pair of shoes while you're out if your feet hurt too bad 🙂


We will be IN PERSON this year for the conference! That means the outfit should coordinate, probably not a good idea for pajama pants with a shirt and blazer. Get those work pants, skirts, etc. out of the closet now and make sure they are still your style and a comfortable fit.


Things are always changing in terms of travel requirements and protocols and certainly vary by company and location. Be sure to visit the San Diego visitors site and check TSA’s site if you are flying and have any questions.

Be prepared

Business cards, you know those cards that you used to hand out at networking events. Prepare for the conference by ensuring you have enough business cards for all the new people you will meet and for the expo hall. Tip: get your business cards ordered about two months in advance to ensure supply chain issues don’t get in the way.

Happy talk

Do you need to get back in the habit of talking to new people? The grocery store is a great place to talk to new people, so on your next few grocery runs say ‘hi’ to some new people.

Get the app

Download the conference app before you leave and review the schedule and create a plan of attack for the week. The app also provides real-time alerts, maps, networking opportunities, event/sponsor highlights, and more.

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