It’s convention season and you are so fired up to learn all you can about everything these conventions offer. Such as:
Building a new business, finding what your passion is
How to market your product
How to use social media
How to hire the perfect team
How to implement target ads in social media
How to blog to capture the right audience
How to set up your finances
Not to mention:
Discovering yourself in the process
Learn business organizational skills
How to find time for yourself
Discover your spiritual side
You name it and there is a conference, convention or summit to cover it.
I am a big advocate of conferences – I feel that when you find the right one you can learn so much from the experience. You will find other people who share your passion, your struggles, your accomplishments and you can learn from each other as much as the speakers. In my day as an event coordinator and one that has attended many events to help me better myself and help me accomplish my business goals, I have found a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of every minute.
I hope you can benefit from them and if you have any tips, please feel free to share! This is how we learn and these events are not cheap so any way we can help each other make the most of an event is so much appreciated.
Before I jump in with my Top 10 Tips – one thing that is the most important and that is to make sure you stay safe, stay in groups, know your surroundings, be alert. Before you get on an elevator, take the stars, or enter your hotel room, make sure you feel safe. Also make sure you shut the door to your room and then bolt lock it. If you don’t feel safe ask hotel security to escort you. That is why they are there.
So here we go…
Tip #1 – Book NOW or LATER?
When booking your event decide if you need to book it now or if can you wait to see if they offer a discount or promo code. Sometimes when the event does not sell like they expected they will offer deals. So, decide if can you wait or do you need to make sure you secure your spot now. Just remember, if it sells out, was it worth you not making it? You can research past events and talk to past attendees to see what they experienced, in order to predict what the procedure is in selling the event. And, if nothing else, call the event coordinator and ask if there is a discount code of any kind.
Tip #2 – Booking the Hotel
Make sure when you call the hotel you have a code from the event. Ask the reservation department if there is a discount on the block of rooms. Then you might jump over to a travel site to see if you can get a better deal. If so book it. After all, it is your money and you do not have to feel obligated to book on their block, but if you can book your hotel within the block the host will appreciate it. They are guaranteeing the hotel X amount of rooms will be booked and that is how they get a special rate.
NOTE: Ask your group if anyone wants to share a room? If you get a double queen you can put 4 people in a room and save money! Just make sure you trust them, and they have the same goals as you. You don’t want them out partying all night and stumbling in late when you are focused on why you are there.
Tip #3 – Transportation
Flying – Check with your hotel to determine the best way to arrive. Do they have a shuttle? What is the cost? Taxi Costs? I will tell you if I arrive at the airport and there is not a shuttle I will get a town car to pick me up. They run about the same price as a taxi and so much more relaxing. Or, meet others at the airport and share a town car. It really is worth it and this is one thing I will splurge on as it keeps me sane, I feel safe and I know I will get that little extra special service. No matter what your method of transportation is, tip the driver. Check with the Concierge of the hotel as they will help you determine the best method of arriving from the airport and at times will get you a discount on the town car.
Driving- check with your hotel on parking fees – most hotels only offer valet parking and it seems to be normal to charge $25.00 per day. So, be prepared and tip when they bring the car to you and you leave it with them. I usually stay where I can park it and forget it. Make sure to take photos of your car prior to arriving and check it before leaving. I have seen issues with dings and the hotel should take care of any problems.
NOTE: Here is a great resource on tipping http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/money/money-etiquette/tipping-etiquette-guide
Tip #4 – How to pack
Check the weather before you pack. Ask others that live in the area what you should expect. Always be prepared, carry an umbrella, lightweight jacket, casual clothes, business attire, t-shoes – make sure to carry a lightweight jacket to the convention since it tends to be cooler in the building.
Tip #5 – Snacks/Foods
Yes, most certainly think about this! You need to be frugal. Pack your snacks. Almonds, snack bars, breathe mints, whatever you like to snack on. Break it down into zip-lock baggies.
Most hotels will have an area where you can grab an apple, or bottled water, so take advantage of their free breakfasts, snacks, etc. If I stay at a hotel that serves breakfast I will take a couple of pieces of fruit for a late-night snack or check the coffee bar as they will usually have some snacks available. Stock your room up so in the morning you can add fuel to the body, and take a snack with you to have later so you’re focused mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
Having a snack for late night helps as well, but no matter what, drink lots of water. You should keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.
If you are really tight on funds – offer to split a meal with a friend. There are so many ways to not bust the budget while at a convention, just look around and take note.
I always carry a snack in my tote while at the conference to munch on in-between classes. And, I always have a piece of chocolate – why? Just because I love chocolate – especially dark chocolate.
Tip #6– Stay Focused & Be Prepared
There is always that party group – don’t be a part of it. Sure, have a cocktail to network, but try to limit yourself to 1-2! Learn to say no to those that want to go party.
Make sure to keep your phone charged, nothing will distract you more than to leave the charger at home and have to buy one. Plug it in before you go to sleep and let it charge all night.
Take a note pad and plenty of pens or pencils.
My little stash of business supplies:
4 pens with your logo
Business cards – 500 (Yes and get 500 back)
Purse size Kleenex
I have a small bag to keep this all in, which I put in my tote so I am always prepared. And should I need to share a pen or two, I can help out a fellow attendee. If you really want to be nice have an extra notepad. Someone is always unprepared.
Tip #7 – Be Present
While the speaker is giving his lecture, pay attention, sit close as you can, take notes. After each lecture take a minute to think about the lecture and write down 3-5 key points you can walk away with. This will help when you are ending the day reviewing your notes. You need to be focused, stay alert, and be respectful to the speaker.
Tip #8 – Network with Others CONSISTENTLY!
Take your business cards and have a goal. For every card you give someone, you should get one back.
Ask for one business tip and write it on the back of their card. Make sure you are prepared to give a business tip as well.
Don’t be shy – walk up to everyone and introduce yourself, tell them where you are from and what you do. Then ask them the same, give them the floor, learn all you can about them and make notes. When you follow-up with them later, you will impress them by demonstrating that you were actually paying attention.
Tip #9 – Follow-up
Take all those business cards, enter into a database and follow-up with them. After all, that is why you exchanged cards. Make sure you follow-up. Send them a note card, email or text, but follow-up.
Tip #10 – Make a Plan
Plan what you are going to implement now that the convention is over. Nothing is worse than to pay a lot of money to go to a convention, not to mention the time invested, to come back and not take action.
Most conventions, events, summits, etc will now have a Facebook group, Twitter hashtag or an app to follow and gather slides from representations, keynotes, etc. But your notes will help you take action on what you learned, and if you don’t take action you just left money on the table.
The best thing to do is to find an accountability partner to help you and them stay on task with your goals and what to implement from the convention.
I love conventions, and meeting new people who are goal setters and implementers like me. If we are at the same convention I will find you, talk to you and learn from you, so get up and go to your next conference, take the bull by the horns and dominate it. Then let me know how these tips helped you conquer!
Have a tip – let me know – post it below or email me.
What is the next event you’re attending?
Where will you find me next? #BusinessBoutique – Fort Worth – give me a shout out and let’s meet up! #KimHughesCoaching
Ready to create the changes that will help you move towards living the life you REALLY want? Now is the time to take control of your personal development by eliminating self-doubt. Give your confidence a boost so you can value the life as well as the business you have dreamed of. Contact Kim Hughes when you are ready to Bring Clarity, Balance, and Confidence to your business. Visit KimHughesCoaching.com for details!
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