Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ideas & Tips for Maximizing the Most Important Conference Asset: You!


A lot of attention is paid and tips suggested on how to get the most out of your attendance at a large, multi-day conference like the 2015 HIMSS Conference in Chicago. One thing that I don’t see a lot of are ideas and tips for taking care of the most important aspect of the conference: You! As luck – and social media –would have it, a recent #expochat tweetchat on “Taking Care of the Most Important Show Asset – People” provides a wealth of ideas and tips you can use to get the most out of your conference attendance.

The following tips and ideas were culled from the Storify for this recent #expochat tweetchat. For readability I’ve omitted the Twitter names of the people who submitted these ideas. Special thanks to @TraciBrowne and several #expochat tweeps who submitted many of these tweets: @TSNN_Rachel @harrisonia @MHighamVXD @EmilieBarta and @BusyEvent


1. Do you have any rituals before heading to show site?


a. Before the event I always spend as much time as possible with family.

b. I make sure to have healthy food in the freezer and house clean for my return.

c. I make sure to pack snacks, mints, reading materials...and I always compartmentalize my packing.

d. Other than charging all my batteries, I like to pack a tasty lunch/snack for the plane

e. I must have To-Do lists for week before leaving office; the last day in office and indexed packing lists.

f. I always map out the nearest Starbucks, pharmacy and 24-hour place to get any type of food.

g. I always have to find a nearby CVS or Walgreens, because I always forget headphones before I fly and stockings for show site.

2. Do you have travel or packing tips?

a. I print a packing list for each trip and check things off as I pack.

b. I do a clothing calendar for that trip to help minimize shoes/attire but maximize usage w/o obvious overlap.

c. I pick a color palette for the trip... makes it more efficient + provides mix-mix - and - match options on the fly.

d. I assign every outfit to a day I will wear it, then I remove at least 2 outfits. Also cut down on shoes!

e. Always have a hoodie + a hat in case of emergency run somewhere before being "show floor ready."

f. I pack snacks & tea, chargers, dollar bills for tipping, & backups of any materials/files I'll need access to at the show.

g. Biggest packing tip is to roll everything (more room) and to laundry bag (less wrinkles) everything else.

h. Roll your clothes...you can fit more in you bag and will eliminate creasing. Also pack a travel iron!

i. Wrap each shoe in a plastic grocery bag so you can squeeze them into the corners of your suitcase.

j. Unpacking is the 1st thing I do when I get to the hotel! After all...it is home for the week!

k. When I get to hotel I unpack & iron everything immediately - unplug the alarm clock, make sure I have lots of water, charge phone

l. Is unpacking in the hotel room a girl thing? So many men look at me like I'm nutz when I say I do this

m. Pack an extra charger/battery for your phone! Don't want to run out while traveling...

n. Making sure all my devices are fully charged, figured out the shortest route between airport and venue, got my Uber on order and

o. Check at the front desk for spare chargers, people leave them in the room all the time.

3. What are your must bring items to maintain your mental or physical health?

a. Foot roller massage, healthy snacks, oat meal packets and soup packets to use w/ room coffee maker in the morning.

b. Included on my checklist (always) is medicine for headaches, stomach aches, cramps, cotton swabs.

c. I bring disinfecting spray to remove germs + air spray to make it smell pretty.

d. Confession: I pack Clorox wipes for the oft-touch objects in the room.

e. Doctor Scholl's inserts. They have saved my life far too many times to count. And vodka.

f. Foot spray, sore muscle cream, and heavy duty lotion help protect my feet from the floor and my skin from the dry air!

4. How do you sustain your health and energy at show?

a. MUST eat breakfast and must carry protein bars or energy bars on/near your person.

b. Taking time to eat meals close to at-home schedule

c. Emergen C, probiotics, fiber drinks, cough crops, cold medicine. Pack stays in the suitcase always.

5. What are some tips you would pass on to a first time show attendee to keep their energy levels up, and maintain their health?

a. Treat the day as "business" not a "party."

b. Sleep, easy on the alcohol, coffee, lots of water, redbull repeat

c. Don't forget your business cards. And bring waaaaay more than u think u need!

d. You can attend an event with a drink in hand, but you don't have to keep refreshing it!

e. I would say to pace themselves in ALL ways - especially the opening reception (too much drink winky ...)

f. When you hear yourself say the words "I'll just have one more" stop and say "never mind, I'll take the check"

6. What are some of your post-show decompression techniques?

a. I lie and tell people I am coming back days later. Don't answer the phone!

b. Set an “out of the office” message the 1st day back home. Use that day to sleep, decompress, unpack, give brain a break.

c. I've learned to schedule an extra day in cities where I have friends or would like to explore - relax before I go home!

d. If it's a resort town, stay an extra day. Particularly so you can finally enjoy the upgrade you received

e. @Netflix...Binge watch all my missed shows!

7. How can we capitalize on that buzz right after show?

a. Follow up with those you promised to follow up with. The sooner you do that, the more respect you gain from buyer

b. You can always send it to their company addresses & those are always online

c. Share stories + pics. Follow up on conversations. Write thank u notes.

d. Follow up on Linkedin, twitter, and email, get together the list and send something clever, make appointments with new leads.

e. As long as they are flattering... I am sometimes shocked at photos that get published! :(

f. People love seeing pictures of themselves.

g. It's sending them an email about the conversation you had with them

h. Write a blog post, share media from the show, and send thank you notes to friends and partners.

Other Ideas?


What ideas, tips and suggestions do you have to get the most out of your conference attendance?  For more info on Health Information Technology Conferences like HIMSS annual conference, consider following me on Twitter.

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