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The Energy Conference Junket? We Don’t Think So!

Anyone interested in getting better at reducing energy costs and improving efficiency will want to check out these two upcoming conferences hosted for national audiences in Canada and the U.S. 360 Energy will be presenting or chairing sessions at both events. We encourage you to consider attending, and come introduce yourself to our President & CEO, David Arkell, when you’re there.
May 30-31. The Energy Summit. Vaughan, Ontario
Sponsored by: Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium
June 12-14. The Industrial Energy Technology Conference. New Orleans, Louisiana
Hosted by: Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station

 Read on to learn 360 Energy’s top tips for getting maximum value from your conference time.
Are energy conferences worth the effort? Some dismiss them as junkets – nothing more than an enviable perk and an excuse to escape from work for a few days.
I say, trash the cynicism. Energy conferences provide good professional development value. They are opportunities to learn from experts, compare notes with peers, and stimulate new ideas to progress back at your own facility. It’s not a junket to invest in employee development.
But I also know, conference goers and presenters can get more out of their attendance with a bit of planning. Here are my top four strategies for making the most of an energy conference experience:
  1. Make serious advance preparation. Know what would be most helpful to you and your energy team. From the conference program, identify the speakers and sessions that will address your concerns. Make a point to introduce yourself to people you identified in advance; have questions prepared (see more notes on that below) and make sure to get their contact info. 
  3. Create your learning objectives. Write out one or two key questions for which you want answers. Your energy team colleagues might have suggestions. 
  5. For each question you prepare in advance, ask it at least 10 times during the conference. Ask it to speakers after a presentation, delegates at random during coffee breaks, tradeshow booth representatives. You will be amazed at the insights you gain from the diversity of answers you receive. 
  7. Like a good journalist, record the responses and report your findings to your colleagues when you return to work. That way, everyone benefits.
As a conference presenter, my objectives are similar. I think of my audience and prepare a list of the key "takeaways" I believe will be relevant and helpful for them. I like case studies. The stories they contain hold lessons. I outline practical steps that can replicate the energy management successes and avoid the pitfalls others have experienced. I want my audience to go home with practical ideas they can implement.
I eagerly await questions from workshop participants. The topics they raise help me learn what is top of mind. By probing my presentation, their questions can spark new thinking and insights I may not have considered. I love genuine dialogue. It helps us all learn more.
360 Energy will be presenting or chairing sessions at both events. Hopefully, I will see you there and get to field your questions!

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