One of the events that I’ve come to look forward to every years in the PMI North America Congress.  This is in part due to the fact that the event presents an opportunity to connect with friends and colleagues as well as potentially learn of the latest trends in the profession.  As I am getting ready to prepare for the trip to Dallas next week I thought I’d share some bits of wisdom that I gained from colleagues and lessons learned having been part of 15 congresses/symposia since 1995.  Here are some things to aspire to do as part of the congress activities:

  1. Make it a point to meet 10 new faces to PMI and the profession.  You’ll never know how you might connect with these people in the future. This should be easy if this is your first time at the event.
  2. Learn at least one new technique or about a new tool in project management that you can use on a day to day basis.
  3. Attend 3 presentations/speeches that challenge your basic assumptions about project management.
  4. Attend at least one presentation that is targeting an industry other than your own or a knowledge area that is outside the scope of your experience.
  5. Schedule meetings with colleagues you are interested in spending time with.  Assuming that the meetings can happen ad-hoc is not wise.  There are so many activities and sometimes it is impossible to find people during break times.
  6. Don’t miss the keynote speeches.  This year there are several that promise to be really good.
  7. Seek out opportunities to get involved and volunteer.  That’s the best way to stay plugged into the profession.  Attending the Leadership Institute meeting adds significant value, especially for individuals who are new to volunteer roles in PMI.
  8. Spend time at the receptions to network and meet people.
  9. Make plans to connect with your network following the event.  This is especially important for individuals seeking new career or business opportunities.
  10. If you have not been to Dallas before, plan on spending some time on sight seeing.  You don’t want to go home having only seen the inside of a ballroom.

These are but a few of the things that I try to do, not always successfully though!