The 2018 Premier Digital Conference is fast approaching! ChurchTrain’s Joe Gallant shares some helpful tips from his experience of the event, to help you get the most out of your day.
Plan your agenda
If you’ve not yet had a good look at the agenda for the day, now’s your chance!
It’s usually a good idea to choose which sessions you’ll attend before you arrive - but don’t feel limited if you change your mind. It’s ok to see what takes your fancy on the day itself.
The day can go by in a bit of a flash, so my top tip would be to arrive early, grab a coffee and use the time before the first session to have a browse of the exhibitions on display. Doing this early makes sure you won’t miss out, if you find yourself with other things to do in the breaks between sessions.
It’ll also mean that if any of the exhibits catch your eye, you can make a note to circle back for a chat when you have time.
When choosing your sessions, you can decide to stick with one stream for the whole day; or you can decide to mix it up!
My personal preference would be the latter - I like to choose some sessions where I know there will be practical advice that’s really applicable to my situation, and then choose a couple of sessions that might be slightly less relevant to my work, but look really interesting or thought-provoking.
Whichever you select, I would recommend to write down your most pressing questions around a topic. This will help to focus your mind when you’re listening to a presentation, but it can also provide you with a list of things to follow up, if they’re not covered.
Most of the time you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions towards the end of a session, and you can usually grab a speaker after they’ve finished (though there’s often a queue!).
If you have a specific situation where you’d like some hands-on help, then you might want to think about booking a slot in the Digital Surgery! Here you can have a one-to-one chat with one of the ‘digital surgeons’, who can provide valuable advice.
I’ll be helping to coordinate the surgery this year, so don’t be afraid to come and say, ‘Hello!’.
Network, contact, share
Apart from all of the brilliant keynotes, workshops and seminars, there’s also another great source of information about ‘all things digital’ - your fellow delegates!
Don’t be shy - chat to those around you.
It’s so encouraging to share what we’ve learned and enjoyed in this way, and who knows, you might even make a helpful contact!
There’s even a dedicated networking stream in the breakout session before lunch - who could you meet?
Don't overdo it
The Premier Digital Conference is made up of lots of sessions, and there’s lots of information to take in.
So if you get overwhelmed, don’t feel bad about taking a break.
It might be a good idea to grab some fresh air - there are a few coffee shops in close proximity to the venue. Or perhaps just find a quiet corner of the reception or the exhibition hall!
Pack your bag
First off, don’t forget the essentials! You’ll need your tickets if you’re using public transport, and chances are, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want your phone so that you can find your way to and from the conference!
There are always refreshments available during the day, but you’ll want to think about lunch. You may want to bring it with you, though there are places to buy food nearby. My tip here would be to keep your lunchtime flexible, so that you can spend some time chatting with people that you’ve met, or those you’re catching up with.
Of course, this is a digital conference, so a tablet or laptop of some kind is encouraged. You won’t look out of place if you’re taking notes digitally, trust me!
Moreover, having your device in your hand is a great way to engage with the conference, as it happens. There’s always a great discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #PremDAC18, and the best tweets are shown on the big screen.
There’s great Wifi throughout the venue, and areas to charge your devices, should you run out of juice.
Still, feel free to go ‘old fashioned’ with a notepad and pen - use whatever works best for you!
Before the day, pray that God will help you to make the most of it. Pray that He will bring the right people in to your path, and the right answers to your questions.
Pray during the day, for all of those involved in the conference.
Finally, make time to reflect on what you’ve learned. Perhaps the next afternoon, or even on the train journey home! Look over your notes, think about how you might put your new insights in to practice, and feel free to share these with us all on social media!
Joe Gallant is a graphic designer, website builder, and the founder of ChurchTrain - an award-winning website which helps UK churches to communicate by making the most of their resources. You can find out more and subscribe for helpful tips from the ChurchTrain blog.