How to get the most out of the CIPD London Student conference

By Richard Goldsbrough, Student Development Manager, CIPD

On 25th February I’ll have the honour of chairing the CIPD London Student Conference at the excellent Friends House venue. I go to conferences like this on a fairly regular basis, both through my work for the CIPD and for building my own knowledge and skills around working for a membership body. They’re a really great way to build knowledge and make contacts but also offer a chance to sit back and reflect on your own personal development.

The line-up for this year’s London Student Conference is nothing short of fantastic. We have a number of very senior figures from HR and L&D who will be sharing their professional experiences as well as various representatives from the CIPD who will be discussing the future of the profession and the future of work. It’s sure to be a very rewarding event for all the delegates and I urge anyone who hasn’t yet reserved their spot to do so ASAP. You can find details on all the speakers and sessions and book on here.

As well as building up your knowledge the conference also presents a great opportunity to build your professional network. You’ll be mixing with at least 200 other CIPD Students and professionals who are at a similar stage in their career journey. The breakout sessions will give you a chance to chat and engage with others and start building your Personal Learning Network (PLN).

Some of my best work ideas and most successful strategies have come from innovations I’ve heard about at conferences. This has shown me and my employer the value of attending events like this.

Everyone will get something different from a conference and that will be no different for a CIPD Student Conference. To help you get the most out of the day I have jotted down a few tips which have helped me over the years:

  • Don’t write everything down. It’s always tempting to write down everything you hear from the speakers. Personally, I try to avoid this, as all it means is that I end up with reams of notes that are too long for me to ever really reflect on or make use of. Instead I try to watch and listen to the speaker and only make note of very key things they mention that I would want to look up at a later date. Perhaps a note of something you may want to read up in the future. These days I try to limit myself to one side of useful notes for a whole conference.
  • Reflect. This is a really important part of attending any conference. Whether on the bus or train home after the conference, or the next day at work, try and take some time out to reflect on everything you heard and learnt at the conference. What did you enjoy? What did you learn and what do you want to learn more about? Did anything challenge your current thinking? It’ll help you with what comes next…
  • Decide three action points. This is the key thing I have taught myself to do following a conference. Write down three things you are definitely going to do as a result of what you have heard and the reflections you have made. This could be something like “find out more about XXXX topic” or “implement new process”. The actions can be as short or as long term as you like. I’ve personally found that limiting your actions to three makes them more specific and achievable.

I look forward to meeting those of you attending the London Student Conference. If you’re coming along we’d love to hear what you’re most looking forward to and when you’re on the way home it’d be great to know what your actions are and what you liked about the conference. Tweet us @cipdstudents using #CIPD17Students

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