As you folks already know, I am lucky enough to be working this year as a brand ambassador for ShesConnected Conference 2012. Which means I’ve been chatting with folks bunches about conference attendance, and I find myself constantly fielding questions about how to prepare for the conference, what to bring, what to wear, etc, etc.
So while I am FAR from a conference veteran, here’s what I learned last year, and what I would suggest to this year’s conference newbies….
1. First and foremost, seriously, just bring yourself, in comfortable clothes, prepared to meet folks and learn.
2. I recommend comfortable shoes, as you may be surprised at how much time you end up spending on your feet!
3. You might also want to bring a dress or some sort of dressy outfit for
the evenings. After-parties are a great way to mix, mingle and unwind
after a long day of cramming your brain full of blogging info.
4. Leave plenty of room in your luggage to bring home swag. Last year I totally under-estimated on the amount of goodies we would be gifted with, and ended up leaving much of it behind. This time I’m thinking an extra empty bag might not be a bad idea.
5. Bring something to take notes with; a pen and paper, a netbook or tablet, whatever works for you.
6. Bring business cards to give out! When I was asking around last year How many cards should I bring I was told a good rule of thumb was one card for every person attending, so if they sell 200 tickets bring 200 cards. So last year I purchased 500 cards, and then after attending two conferences I had about 450 left (However, I will admit I was being a bit timid with handing them out.) Based on my experiences I would guess that 100 cards would probably do.
7. Don’t forget about someplace to store business cards and a pen to write on them with. You will likely collect tons of business cards, having a pen handy to jot notes on them is useful (Where did you meet this person? What did you want to email them about? What was the follow up for this card?) I think some sort of container to toss them all into would be useful too, as last year I ended up with WAY more then would comfortably fit in my wallet.
8. There should be free wi-fi at the conference, and live tweeting is always a fun and popular pastime. If you have a smart phone or an iPod Touch or something of that sort, you’ll probably want it at hand. (I used my iPod Touch for this last year and it was perfect!)
9. I recommend staying on site, or at the hotel closest to the conference. It’s totally worth the extra money to be able to drop stuff off in your room, those bags of swag get heavy!
10. Another great reason to stay on site– late-night networking at the hotel is FUN. Be sure to bring a nice pair of comfortable PJs that you don’t mind folks seeing you in.
For the first time conference goers…. Did you find these tips helpful? If you have any questions please feel free to ask!
For those of you who’ve attended a blogging conference before… What did I forget? What would you add to the list?