Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, Sept 17, 2014, says many people go to conferences but spend their time wandering, collecting freebies, throwing down java, and dozing off.
The key to making these work for your career is pre-planning.
Most conferences have speeches to all attendees, then separate subject area panels and presentations.
You have to choose between the latter because you can't be two places at once.
One attendee color codes these--a must or a maybe. She knows where she is headed. If a must is filled--she runs to the maybe.
One key is to try to meet the presenters--who are often high-level executives. You may have to stand in line for a handshake. If you want to leave a card, write on it what you want.
Most of all--you need stamina...I have attended countless conventions and conferences--in fact, I have dreams of wandering through hotel meeting rooms, lost. The sale air, the heavy sacks of freebies from the exposition hall, the constant introducing of panel members.
Of course, I have also been a panel member many times--now that is different. Very scintillating.