Template Toolbox | Out-of-Office Email When You’re Going to a Conference

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When you’re out of the office on vacation, the most important part is letting colleagues, clients, and contacts know when you’ll be back and who they can connect with in your absence.

But if you’re off to a conference or professional development event, there are other things to highlight in addition to the basics. Take advantage of the opportunity to invite new connections and talk about your work (especially if you happen to be presenting or facilitating while you’re out). Here are a few things to consider including in your message:

Where to find you on social

These days, a conference without a hashtag, selfie station, or the like is a rarity. Just about everyone is online during conferences, and so conference hosts continue to find ways to keep you connected to your network during big events. When you’re off at your next conference, consider including one (or all) of the following:

  • Conference hashtag for Instagram and Twitter
  • Link to any of your own (or your organization’s) social media accounts from which you’ll be sharing while you’re out
  • Information related to any Facebook Live appearances you may be making over the course of the conference

Where to find you at the conference

There’s a huge conference that I attend every year, and every year, I find out once I return to the office that there were professional acquaintances and contacts at the same conference, and we just didn’t know that the other was going to be in attendance until it was too late.

To avoid missing a possible connection try including some of the schedule details for any sessions, special events, office hours, etc. that you’ll be attending or moderating

Where to find more information on the event you’ll be attending

If you’re heading out of the office to a conference or event that you are willing to vouch for, go ahead and share the details. Be specific by letting people know the name of the conference or event and including a link to the event page.

Pro Tip 1: If the conference is hosted by your organization (or a partner organization) consider including a link to the details in your email footer in the weeks leading up the event, especially if there are still spaces left for additional attendees.

Pro Tip 2: You’ll notice that the templates below are a pretty informal, but of course, adjust the tone depending on your organizational culture and expectations.

Your out-of-office template

Hi there,

I’m currently out of the office and learning my little heart out at [CONFERENCE NAME] in [CITY]. If you need immediate assistance, please feel free to connect with my colleague [NAME, TITLE] at [EMAIL ADDRESS] or [PHONE]. Otherwise, I’ll be sure to be in touch when I’m back in the office on [DATE RETURNING].

If you find yourself at [CONFERENCE NAME, HYPERLINKED TO EVENT PAGE] this week, let’s connect! Here’s where you’ll find me:

  • [SESSION NAME, DATE, LOCATION]
  • [SESSION NAME, DATE, LOCATION]
  • [SESSION NAME, DATE, LOCATION]

And if you’re not in [CITY] but want to stay up-to-date on the latest from the week, you can follow me at [SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLE] and check out what’s happening at the conference by exploring [HASHTAG] on Instagram and Twitter.

While I will be checking email during my time away, I’ll be slow to respond so thanks so much for your patience and understanding.

Best,

[NAME]

***

Have you come up with a creative way to let contacts, colleagues, and clients know when you’re out of the office? Share in the comments below!

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As a seasoned communications professional with 15 years of nonprofit experience and 6 years of experience creating engaging content and copy, I love the idea that a thoughtfully crafted piece of content can spark social change. Here at Idealist Careers, I'm eager to offer job seekers, game changers, and do-gooders actionable tips, career resources, and "social-impact lifestyle" advice.
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