Part of my job is attending events, and over time I’ve created my own top 10 list for conference preparation. I thought you all might enjoy it, so here it is!
1. Create a packing list
I love checking things off a list so I have a packing list for every trip so I don’t forget anything. The last thing you want is to get to the airport without your driver’s license or passport, or forget business cards for networking at the event. A good packing list will help you plan that all out. As part of your packing list it’s helpful to print out the weather for the destination location (in this case Washington, DC).
Don’t forget to have backup copies of your travel itinerary as well as key contact numbers such as the hotel for your carry-on.
2. Determine how you’re going to take notes – paper or electronic
We all have a favorite way of taking notes, so decide ahead of time what will work for you – paper or electronic. If you’re taking paper notes, don’t forget extra pens or pencils. If you’re taking electronic notes set that up ahead of time. For instance, in OneNote I set up pages for each day of the conference ahead of time so I’m ready to go when I get there.
3. Plan out your sessions, and know those plans might change
This is a great activity for the airplane. Go through the APC Preview and determine what sessions you want to attend. This will help you plan your days when you get to Washington, DC. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new – this is your time for training! If you’re not a techie but your boss wants you to learn Sharepoint, check out the tracks in the “Ignite your Tech Power” track. If you’ve always wanted training on financial management, now’s your time to learn them!
4. Determine what exhibitors you “must see” before leaving the Conference
I feel like this is something that we often overlook until we’re onsite, but it’s smart to think about this ahead of time. Time goes quickly at the conference so do this prep ahead of time. Thinking about your corporate gifting program for 2015? Now’s the time to scope out some new ideas.
5. Don’t forget your chargers!
I’ve got packed my chargers for my:
I know not everyone is as heavily techie as me, but don’t forget chargers for any electronic device you’re bringing.
6. Bring business cards
Yes, this happened to me. I went to a large industry conference a few years ago and the one thing I forgot was business cards. Yikes. Here’s your reminder – pack those business cards.
7. Dress for comfort with a scarf and comfortable shoes
Conference rooms at any location are sometimes tricky when it comes to A/C. I’m typically too cold, so I make it a habit to always bring a packable scarf that I can pull out of my bag and pop on in a conference session if I get chilly.
And if you forget everything else (which I hope you don’t!) don’t forget comfortable shoes. I have a few shoes that I have deemed my “tradeshow/conference shoes” (my husband even calls them that) which are ultra-comfortable even after a long day of sitting, standing, walking, and networking.
8. Follow social media
I’ll be tweeting, blogging and Instagramming the conference, so if you want to follow along get those hashtag follows set up ahead of time: #apc14nationalharbor #apc14DC. And follow this blog as I'll be doing daily recaps for you here.
9. Prepare to have fun!
There are plenty of great opportunities at the Administrative Professionals Conference for networking and socializing. From the welcome reception on Sunday night to the Tuesday evening party…and more!
10. See the town
Washington, DC is a fantastic city, and if you can, get out and see it! There’s plenty to do in the National Harbor area including seeing one of my favorite sculptures, The Awakening, which is within walking distance of the Gaylord.
Am I missing anything on the packing and prep list? Let me know! Add your thoughts in the comments below. I look forward to seeing everyone in just a few days!