I want to thank NACE for giving me the opportunity to provide some “tips” for new Conference attendees. Let me start by saying that you made a great choice to attend the NACE Conference. It is the premier annual event in our profession (and let’s be honest, EVERYONE wants to go to New Orleans!).
In order to make the most of your experience, here are my top five tips for making your conference In “The Big Easy” easier.
- Plan Ahead. It is hot and humid in New Orleans in June, but that is not what I mean. The NACE Conference is YOUR opportunity to learn best practices from the cutting edge thinkers in our profession. Make the most of that by planning your conference schedule.
Add the sessions you would like to attend to your schedule in the NACE18 app so you can tailor your learning experience for your needs. Always plan a backup session for each time slot as well. True story: the Fire Marshall in Dallas kicked me out of a session in 2011. The backup session I attended ended up being the impetus for my very first NACE Conference Presentation in 2013!
- Network. Network. Network. The conference will be attended by more than 2,000 of your closest friends, including all of the thought leaders in career services and campus recruitment. This is the time to network and meet people.
Don’t be shy (I’ve never been accused of that). Talk to people. Get noticed.
Do your research. Find 10 people you MUST meet at NACE18 from the attendee list and reach out to them before the conference. In the past, I’ve even sent a Google Map with walking directions to a local coffee shop to make sure I got some time with the people I HAD to meet.
Make sure to connect with the folks you meet with a personalized connection request on LinkedIn. (If you want to learn how to use LinkedIn, watch my latest webinar: http://bit.ly/New-LinkedIn-Shapiro. I would also be more than happy to network WITH you and answer YOUR LinkedIn questions at NACE18).
- Engage In Social Media! As I like to say, “ENGAGE, it is NOT just for Trekkies anymore.” In all seriousness, there are great conversations and learning on the NACE conference social media channels. You will see me Tweeting up a storm on Twitter with the #NACE18 hashtag @chaimshapiro.
Live Tweet the sessions you attend and add your pithy thoughts. You can even preschedule some of your Tweets based on the conference schedule using a service like Buffer.com.
Don’t Tweet and run. Engage with the folks that respond to your Tweets and respond to the Tweets of others (even if you don’t like Star Trek). Just be nice and remember the golden rule “Tweet unto others as you’d have tweeted unto you.”
- Go to the Expo: All the top vendors offering the very best products in our profession will be in the Expo Hall at the conference. Go meet with them and discuss how they can help you solve your problems.
There are some great raffle prizes in the Expo as well. I know this is not a representative sample, but over the last several years I personally won 1) A $500 gift card 2) A smart TV 3) A watch and 4) An Ipod (I’d love to win an Ipad this year if any of the vendors are listening).
You HAVE to visit the French Quarter, but did you know that New Orleans has a number of fascinating cemetery tours (it is not as macabre as it sounds) and, in my opinion, one of the best museums in the world, the National World War II Museum? Go out there and have fun!
I look forward to seeing you in NOLA! Please look me up on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/chaimshapiro/ I am also always happy to meet for coffee (especially if I am not paying).