If you’ve made the decision to come along to #AREC2018 this year (and we hope you have), you’ve made a great decision to invest in your career by taking some time out of the office – to learn some new things and meet some new people. We know it’s a significant investment, but well worth it. Use this handy guide for some great tips to help make your #AREC2018 (or any conference) the best experience ever.
Before the conference
- What to pack: Plenty of business cards, flat shoes, comfortable clothes, mobile charger for your phone, breath mints. (Don’t forget band-aids and Panadol just in case as well!)
- The early bird catches the best travel plans. Book early! Plan your trip – arrange to stay at or a short walking distance from the venue to avoid unnecessary travel expenses.
- Yes, there is an App for that: Download cool Apps to keep track of your conference expenses eg travel, meals etc. Shoeboxed or Expensify are great examples.
- Connect with the speakers on social media. Let them know you are looking forward to learning from them.
- Decide on a note-taking solution – you’re going to get heaps of info… is it a laptop, iPad or notebook and pen. Or better still – join the Elite Agent Facebook Group where we will be ‘notepooling’ again this year.
- Set your email out of office message to allow you to relax and focus on learning and networking.
- Join the conference email list and follow the conference hashtag and twitter account.
- Download the conference app and get to know the program and the exhibitors. Who do you really want to see?
During the conference
- This is it – time to have fun and learn lots – soak up the atmosphere and vibe of all the people surrounding you that are pumped to learn.
- Capture your action steps separately to your conference notes and scribbles. (That way it will be easier to implement when you get home!)
- Show up early to get the best seat.
- Did everyone from your office go to the event or just you? Find out from your team what they would like to know. Create a closed group on facebook and ‘post home’ to the team to help your colleagues feel (at least a little) like they are part of it.
- Track your own mentions and retweet others to build social rapport with fellow attendees.
- Check out the exhibitors – finding new and different ways of doing things in your business can save you money, make you money or make you more efficient.
- Have some healthy snacks and water on hand; keeping your blood sugar steady helps you to stay alert and absorb more information.
- Distil every talk down to one or two key takeaways. What struck you? What did you learn? Was there a piece of advice that really resonated?
Network like a champ
- Set a goal to try to meet at least 10 new people each day.
- Make sure you have your best marketing tool on hand at all times – a SMILE!
- Business Cards – Download the Wantedly People App and swap business cards with everyone! Or simply use Linkedin to connect.
- Say “Hi”, introduce yourself and provide some encouragement to the speakers and presenters if you see them.
- Attend the events or the after-hours drinks, (but remember to drink water too!)
- Keep your eyes open – you may find your next star employee while you’re networking.
- Never eat alone. Look for the people that are smiling and talking and ask to join them.
- Process business cards in “real time”. Write notes on business cards to remember specific details about each person, and what the next action is when you get back to the office. Connect with them there and then. (You can sleep when you get home!)
After the event
- Make sure you fill in your feedback forms. Conference organisers always want to create the best experience for you in their future events. Give them some words of encouragement – they work hard to deliver these events to help you #learnfromthebest.
- Create ‘list posts’ on your blog of the most memorable speakers, lessons and tools. (You can create an outline even before you go to the conference!)
- Use Apps like Wakelet, Canva, or Paper so you can reflect on your conference experience in an interesting way.
- If you didn’t connect with people you met on social media (eg LinkedIn) during the conference, grab those business cards out and connect now. On your phone. Yes, NOW!
- Get your CPD points via Elite Agent Academy. To find out how many you get for your state visit eliteagent.academy/arec2018
- Review your notes and transfer your top takeaways and actions into a ‘task pool’. Use apps like Trello, Slack and even your phone reminders to help you action these.
- Be proactive and book a ticket for next year at the super-super early bird rates to keep the learning going!