How to be More Productive at a Conference

Stack of notepads with blue penI just got back from a three-day conference. I learned a ton and met so many great people. It was time well spent. My least favourite task at a conference is taking notes. It’s a chore for me. I usually buy a pretty notepad to get in the mood, but it never works. I write all these notes and then the pretty notepad gets put on a shelf. Ignored and then forgotten.

At this conference, I vowed things would be different. I had to put some purpose into my notetaking. It had to be fun and efficient. But how?

Enter these two tools. They changed my conference note taking experience. They make work for you too.

My Favourite Tech Tool to have at a Conference 

The iPad. I’m looking around the room and I’m pleasantly surprised by how many people are using them (while others sneak a peak to see how it can be used for business and not just as a cool toy.)

Here are four advantages to using an iPad at a conference:

  • It’s small to make it less obvious, intrusive and distracting than a laptop.
  • It’s quiet so no one hears the clicking of the keyboard as you type.
  • It’s light so you can slip it into your purse and carry it easily. No need for that heavy laptop bag.
  • It’s efficient. When the presenter says, follow me on Twitter or go to XYZ website for more information. With a swipe and a tap it’s done. I even saw one person search and check out from her library a book referenced by the presenter.

My Favourite App to have at a Conference

Evernote. Hands down. Without a doubt. It rocks. If you’re not familiar with this handy app, I invite you to visit to learn more.

I admit, I’m a new Evernote user. Having heard so many positive things about it, I decided to take it for a test drive. I can honestly say, it has made my note taking easier. I created a Notebook to hold my conference materials. I have my notes categorized by each session, the handouts for each session, my agenda for each day and the map of the hotel. It’s organized and efficient. Just the way I like it.

I can also create links to websites, take photos and embed them in my note, add tags to make my notes searchable, and record the presentation (or parts of it) for later reference.

The best part is Evernote automatically syncs with my other devices so I can access them from wherever I am. When I returned to my office, I looked at my notes on my desktop computer. If I want to print them out or share them with others, I could do that too.

So, at your next conference, consider using an iPad and Evernote. The combination will make your note taking more efficient and fun.

What have you used at a conference that made you more efficient and productive? I’d love to hear about it. Share your comments below.


  1. Valeri, thanks for this post. I’m heading to a conference on Monday and will definitely try this out!

    Awesome tip.

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