Women talking

How to make the most of Bond Conference

In just a few weeks, we’ll be hosting the biggest international development event in Europe.

Over two days in March, the Bond Annual Conference and Awards 2019 brings together around 150 expert speakers and 800 attendees in London to interrogate the latest trends and challenges in our sector.

Our wide-ranging programme is jam packed with 34 thought-provoking sessions, including talks by Tanni Grey-Thompson, Maina Kiai and Penny Mordaunt MP. With so much going on over two days, here are some tips I’ve picked up over the last few years to help you get the most out of this year’s conference.

Before you get there

1. Download the Bond Conference app (you can do this by searching for “Attendify” in your app store, downloading the Attendify app and then typing in “Bond Conference”). Set up a profile in the app so that other delegates know who you are and can connect with you.

2. Conference is an opportunity to network with other people from the sector and meet new people. Use the hashtag #bondconf to let people know you are attending the conference on social media.

3. Familiarise yourself with the programme and choose the right sessions for you. The app and our website have an overview of each session and a list of the speakers in that session to help you choose.

At the Conference

4. Face to face first, phone second. Yes, you should be tweeting about the conference, but don’t forget to look up and speak to people. Whether you’re sitting in a session or waiting for a coffee, you never know who you will be standing next to. The conference is a great place to make new connections which could lead to opportunities for collaboration or personal development.

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5. Make sure you know which sessions you’re going to and where they are. Sessions fill up fast, so get to the room early to get a seat! If you find yourself in a session that isn’t what you thought it was going to be, don’t be afraid to leave and go to another one of the six that are running at the same time.

6. Take notes. The conference is full of panel debates, talks and workshops exploring diverse topics, so there is a lot to take in. However you take your notes (on a laptop or on paper), make sure to write down three key points at the end of each session you attend. This will make it easier for you to come back to what you’ve learned.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The speakers in each session are experts in their field, so this is your chance to get answers to your burning questions. No question is too silly! This is your chance to learn and get inspired.

8. Find out more about what NGOs are doing in the Whittle room. Head to the Virtual Reality Hub to experience a VR film and see what EMERGENCY UK, WaterAid and The Brooke are doing with this new technology.

9. Stop by the Bond stand to pick up recent Bond reports and learn more about our work and services.

10. Bring your business card. Be prepared to exchange cards and connect. Try jotting down a note on a card you’re given – this will help when following up with them.

11. Meet the organisations exhibiting. Some are NGOs while others are trusted suppliers to the sector. They can help you with your area of work and offer advice.

12. Speed network. This year we will have a speed networking area in the Whittle room to help you connect with each other.

13. Bring a charger. We’ll have four charging lockers throughout the exhibition rooms (Britten and Whittle).

14. Grab a coffee to stay alert. There will be coffee and water points on the 3rd floor. Water points are also available in each room, so stay hydrated!

After the event

15. Join us for drinks at the end of the first day in the Cambridge room. We also invite you to attend the Bond International Development Awards after and celebrate the inspiring people and work of the Bond network.

16. Follow-up with those people you met at the conference while you’re fresh in each other’s minds. Connect on LinkedIn, email or Twitter. Go further and set up meetings with those you want to collaborate with.

17. You will learn a lot at the conference through informative and inspiring conversations. Why not blog about it to share it with your co-workers and network? Share the learning!

Book your place at Bond Conference 2019 now.