For 2010 Annual In DC and 2011 Annual in New Orleans I posted some stuff about keeping sane at a really big conference. This year’s annual will be the fourth time zone I have presented in this year. I have been to a few conferences and would love to share my tips. So as this reminder to myself….here we go AGAIN!
Stuff for this year:
TAKE YOUR BADGE OFF WHEN NOT IN CONVENTION AREAS. This means you and you. You scream I’m A Tourist. Please Mug Me! (pointed out to me by Kate.)
Always be armed with comfortable shoes- Anaheim involves a lot of walking. Inside of the Convention Center. To the Hotel for that session. On the exhibit floor. To get something to eat. Back to the exhibit hall. Outside of the convention center to the social hour. THIS IS JUST ONE DAY. Your feet will thank you. And if you are tired. Have a seat and read or network with someone you don’t know. Which leads too….
Make one new friend each day. For the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, don’t hang out with the people from your place of work the ENTIRE TIME YOU ARE HERE. You can see them each and every day. Make new friends and deepen friendships that you already have.
Hit up those happy hours and vendor breakfasts and vendor lunches and vendor sponsored beverage breaks. Learn some stuff while bending an elbow with your vendors and networking for the future. Learn some stuff to share back at your job or find your next one.
Get Local: Have time to explore the city that is hosting your conference. Or a city near the city hosting your conference. Explore and find (if you drink) the local liquor store, deli, drug store and mass transit. Just in case you need any of these things while out there. Look, buying local is cheaper than hotel bar prices. Just sayin’ And if you have a Google map or similar account, favorite them so you can have instant access to them.
Things I pack: bathing suit, Non Conference tote bag, Aspirin and Pain Patches (I am middle aged and get sore), Powdered child hydration packets (great for that 8 am board meeting after hanging out until 2 am) , Airborne or equivalent, portable charger this think is worth its weight in gold pressed latinum, (thanks Bobbi for this idea), snack bars, water bottle, travel mug, business cards and alternate contact method (contxts) for example, all cords for all devices you carry and sense of humor and adventure. All in just a carry on.
The Cliff Notes review of previous advice which still holds:
2010 Chocolate City Annual Advice: I plan to do one (or two) things each day and one day of no specific commitments; I plan on using technology to my advantage; I plan to bring more business cards and my own totebag; I plan to find a quiet space and do nothing for a few minutes each day; I plan to have a plan to visit the vendors; I plan on having a good time with the informal learning and all; and I plan on not feeling guilty if I do not blog or post as much as I would like to do so while at ALA.
2011 Big Shrimping Advice: Take it easy; Bring contact info; Dress Accordingly; Drink water; Lots of water; Visit the vendors and listen to their some of their sales pitches – All vendors are not the enemy; Listen to a couple of sales pitches; Vote with your feet; Go to a program completely outside of your area; Escape Your Introvert Shell.