Picking the right talks & making the best of the BA Summit

With such a great line-up of speakers, it can be overwhelming choosing which talks to attend and where best to spend your time. Having been fortunate enough to previously attend the BA Summit, here are my top four tips on how to choose your talks to make the most of your conference experience.

Know your reason for attending – Are you there to learn, network or simply attending because your company says you have to? Knowing the reason you are there will very quickly help you decide where you want to focus your efforts. If you are there to learn, look at your career goals and development areas then choose your talks based on that. On the other hand, networking means choosing talks where there are professionals you want to connect with. If you are there simply because you have to attend, look at ways to make this a fun experience!

Prepare beforehand – Simply pitching up at a conference without having an idea of the talks you want to attend is a big mistake. Take the time to read through the conference programme and familiarise yourself with the speakers. Once you have an idea of the talks you would like to attend, write your plan out in a book you intend on taking with you to the conference. While at the conference your plan will most likely change, but at least any changes will be well-informed and you will know what you are giving up when choosing to rather attend a different session.

Expand your horizons – One big misconception I had in previous years of attending the BA Summit was that I had to choose talks that covered topics I knew something about. Conferences are there to help us expand our knowledge and professional network. Sticking with what you know is tempting, but I personally learned so much more when attending talks where I had little knowledge of the topic and I left the talk informed and eager to do further research of my own.

Don’t be afraid to ‘go it alone’ – It is very tempting to attend the same talks your peers are attending. It is human nature to naturally gravitate towards people we know. As uncomfortable as it may be, attending a talk by yourself provides you with an opportunity to connect with people before and after the talk. It also means that you won’t compromise on the talks you actually want to attend.

The BA Summit provides us with such great opportunities to not only connect with people in our industry but also to gain insights into what is happening within our industry. I’m looking forward to this year’s conference and I cannot wait to learn more about the Fourth Industrial Revolution and what that means for Business Analysis.


Charlene Seini is a Senior Consultant at Saratoga and has previously presented at the BA Summit. For more insights, follow Charlene on Twitter at @CharleneSeini