This upcoming weekend is General Conference. Listening all weekend is like drinking from a fire hydrant. Yes, you get some water, but most of it spills right past you. Here are some suggestions to help you get as much as possible from the talks. I also ask you to add your helpful hints in the comments.
Prepare Ahead of Time
What are things that can prepare you and your home for General Conference?
1. Make sure you have food prepared prior to Conference
2. Have your house clean.
3. Get rid of other possible distractions. Decide what to do with cell phones, televisions, game consoles, and other things that can entice you or your family away from listening. There's plenty of time before and in between sessions to check social media, email and voice messages.
4. Prepare ahead of time Conference games for children. For example Conference bingo is often a hit with kids. For those too little to read, use pictures instead of words in the bingo game. Words, such as Jesus, love, prophet, Mormon, apostle, family, temple, etc., can be used. There are several available online to download.
Another fun game is to divide a piece of paper into four sections (draw four quadrants, don't cut). Then in a quadrant of the paper, draw a picture of the person at the podium, and write down around his/her head the major themes and phrases used by the person. Each speaker gets his own quadrant. After Conference, judge which pictures are best, which themes leaped out the most.
5. Obtain a Conference journal for each adult and older child. Explained below.
6. Have each family member pick their spot in front of the television beforehand. If it means bringing out chairs, pillows, blankets or sleeping bags to lay on, you'll have it all set up prior to Conference, so there's no rushing around during the opening hymn and prayer. If you allow food during Conference, have each seat situated with any drinks or food, so there's no rushing to the refrigerator during talks. Make sure everyone takes a bathroom break prior to the opening hymn.
7. Consider fasting to get into the spirit.
8. Invite others to watch General Conference. You can do formal invitations, or informally invite people over social media. In fact, I encourage all of my readers to invite others over social media to watch at least one session of General Conference.
During General Conference
1. Conference journal: In the past, many of us wrote down everything we heard, as we would not see/hear Conference until the Ensign/Liahona would come out a month later. Today, it isn't necessary to write everything down. Within a couple weeks, Conference will be available again to study, hear, watch and read. Instead, as you listen to the talks, listen to the Spirit and write down what it speaks to you. What personal revelation is given to you as you listen to General Authorities share their messages? What words, sentences or stories leap out at you? What impressions do you receive? Write these things down. You'll see conference again later, however you especially want to remember the personal revelation you receive while listening. Those thoughts and feelings won't be available later, unless you write them down.
2. Sing the hymns with the choir.
For those who don't want to sing, draw a picture of the choir members, and again write song phrases around their heads. Draw yourself or family member into the choir, perhaps helping to direct the choir.
1. In between sessions, after Conference, or during next Family Home Evening, discuss the bingo words, the pictures drawn, and the personal Conference journal notes with one another. Ask which talk was favorite for each person, which story was amazing, which goals the prophets have asked us to make over the next 6 months. Which new temples were announced? You can then look up the locations on a globe or on the internet.
2. Schedule as a family to watch at least one Conference talk per week (every Sunday?) over the next six months. Discuss them. You'll find you won't get through all of them by doing only one per week, you may choose to do two. You can also assign Family Home Evening lessons from General Conference talks.
As individuals, we may look to read a Conference talk each day, or several times a week, in conjunction with reading scriptures. After all, Conference is living scripture, and can inspire and teach us as much as the canonized scriptures.
3. Review your Conference journal notes once per month, to remind you what the Holy Ghost impressed upon your mind.
4. Set goals from those things learned in General Conference. Write specific goals that can be measured. If you are asked to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year, how many pages/chapters per day would you have to read? If you have a goal to attend the temple: what must you do to receive a temple recommend? How often would to attend, and when will you schedule each visit?
5. Put key phrases from Conference up around the house: refrigerator, bathroom mirror, by the front door.
6. Discuss and determine how well you were prepared for Conference, and find ways to make the next Conference even more spiritual and inspiring.
Hopefully this list (not exhaustive) will give you a beginning place to prepare for next week's Conference. If you have more ideas, please add them to the comments.