Attending your first conference? Here are 7 essentials

Jump up and down like a madman on your hotel bed, order caviar and champagne on your company’s tab, blast your face with strong perfume in the morning—just kidding! What to do at your first conference.

I was hit with a double whammy when I attended back-to-back conferences. I started with Ragan’s health-care social-media summit at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and then reported on Swedish Medical Center’s “Innovation in the Age of Reform” conference in Seattle the following week.

Sure, I learned a lot about health care, but I also learned a lot about conference culture.

You’ll find there’s more to the conference than just break-out sessions, keynotes and panel discussions. Conferences can be a lot of fun, if you play your cards right. But before you start jumping up and down on your hotel bed (careful—this was easier to do when you were 10) and have caviar and champagne sent to your room (this might be a tough one to explain on your expense report), here are a few tips for conference newbies to follow.

And please, veteran communicators, feel free to add your own.

Don’t spray perfume in your face

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