Number One: Preparation. Prior to attending the conference I did my research. I checked the website on a regular basis to keep informed about what editors and agents would be attending. I also took the time to visit their websites and find out what they were looking for. I made photo copies of all of this information to keep it readily available at the conference.
Number Two: Writing down your goals for the conference. A few days before the conference I set aside a few minutes to think about what I wanted to get out of the conference. Top on my list was to improve my writing skills, do a little networking with writers further ahead on the journey, and make new writing friends. I found that when I wrote my goals down, I not only achieved them, but it helped me to relax.
Number Three: Look for opportunities. Not just for yourself, but for others. In one conversation with an editor, I found out that he was looking for a specific magazine article. Earlier that day I had a conversation with a woman who had just such an article. I passed this information on to the writer, and made a new friend in the process. If you tend to be on the shy side, the best question you can ask at a table full of people you don's know is, "What do you write?" Soon you'll find yourself relaxing, and enjoying the experience.
Writer's conferences are a great way to meet people and improve your writing. I feel they are an absolute necessity to take your writing to the next level.