In anticipation of the ASAE Annual Meeting and Exposition, which will be held Aug. 13-16 in Salt Lake City, Utah, we’ll be providing some tips on how to maximize your experience.
Do you have some tips to share? Email Kristen Parker at Kristen@eventgarde.com.
- For each session time slot, map out a first and second session choice. It is very acceptable at ASAE to switch sessions if the content or format doesn’t accommodate your learning style. Having a second choice in your back pocket can make this easier.
- A few weeks before, start following the conference hashtag on Twitter (#asae16). You will see a stream of information about sessions, receptions, etc. Better yet, you will start to virtually “meet” some of people who will be there. I actually found the colleague who eventually became my CAE study buddy by first connecting on a Twitter chat!
- Registration opens at 7 a.m. on Saturday so make sure you get there early rather than waiting until Sunday.
- Check out the Hive/New Bee Lounge. Though they shift the name sometimes, this lounge will have a new “bee” sticker (yes, it is a bee) that is unobtrusive on your badge, but a good wink to other newbies too.
- Make sure you arrive in time for Opening Reception, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Everyone flows differently – some like to show up and just play pinball, bouncing from new person to new person. Others feel more confident when networking with a buddy or even a small group. Think about how you best meet people and try to set yourself up for networking success before you even step in the room.
- Opening Keynote (or any of them) – Move up! The back may fill up more quickly, but that isn’t because that’s where the best seats are located. Want to see and hear better? Sit near the front.
- Session selection – Think of the individual sessions you attend as a “choose your own adventure.” Did you just meet someone and are having a really interesting conversation? Pivot, go to a session together and see how you can help each other learn. If you’re following the conference Twitter stream and hear some interesting buzz about a session, attend. Ultimately, you might want a mix of sessions. And don’t count on outlets. Most session rooms won’t have many outlets, if any at all. Those that do will quickly be in use by those who show up to session early. Think about your charging needs and carry a backup battery for your phone just in case.
- Attend a Community Section Reception on Sunday. The YP one is a great place to start, though any of these are open and offer smaller networking opportunities to meet new colleagues.
- The Expo Hall is a place to secure new vendor relationships and also to see what’s on the horizon for association tools, resources, partners and locations. If you aren’t coming with direct business to do, still walk the hall, using it as a learning experience. Expo Hall hours throughout two days are long. If you find you have exhausted the floor, that’s the perfect time to check out some of the lounges that are available. At a minimum, the ASAE Foundation lounge the past few years has sponsored Chuck Fazio’s Headshot Lounge where you can get free professional headshots. Also, the lounge hosting the ASAE Career HQ is good to check out (or even see if they have a really low-price career coaching session available).
- Non-ASAE Sponsored Receptions – By the time you get to Sunday night, you will have met a few people so ask where they are going and join in! Remember – It isn’t about how many receptions you attend, but about what you do with the time you spend at each. If the people attending resonate with where you are/what you’re looking for, stay and talk.
- Awards & Recognition Breakfast – This optional event on Monday morning is early. With that said, do you want inspiration and vision for the future of our industry? Come see our next leaders.
- ASAE Foundation – The ASAE Foundation is our industry’s entity, supporting our field with research, innovation grants and investments in the future of associations. There is a foundation donor reception on Saturday evening before the opening reception for those who make a certain level donation. Besides investing in your profession, this reception is smaller than the opening and filled with others that have taken that next step to invest in the association field as well. It’s a worthwhile way to get your feet wet at your first conference.