Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wearing My Conference Shoes

In preparation for any conference Kane/Miller attends, there are certain things that we must always keep in mind.
ALSC posted several Conference Tips on their blog - meant for those attending sessions, workshops and yes, walking through the Exhibit Hall. Several of these tips also carry over to exhibitors (I've made comments - italicized - from this exhibitor's point-of-view):
*Take Snacks. And take them with you to the conference hall (Concession stand food is an exhibitor's only alternative). Pack small zip lock baggies of pretzels, M&Ms, whatever gets you through the day. You’ll save money and time – the food lines are always long! *More food tips: Vendors have food. Candy, especially. Stop and see their goods, chat with them, and then eat their chocolate. Watch for free food events in the exhibit hall (We'll have chocolate globes at ALA - unless they somehow get consumed between San Diego and Anaheim).

*Scope out the local restaurants. Every time you walk somewhere, keep an eye out for good food spots. There will be a lot of librarians competing for the eateries, so if you see a cool, off-the- beaten-track spot, jot it down. (We make reservations ahead of time to avoid such competition.)

*Spy Pad! Take a little notebook with you and keep it handy for jotting down.. restaurants, ideas, phone numbers, etc. Keep it handy, as well as a good pen. Put the address and phone number of your hotel in the spy pad, just in case you need it — taxi drivers do NOT always know where they should go (Very good tip. I also bring a book).

*Swag…. Either take an extra bag to cart home all the freebies or be judicious in your picking up. Those free books and stickers get heavy. You can ship stuff home, too. Usually there is a handy postal service right at the conference center (Feel free to JUST SAY NO to an exhibitor who's handing you stuff - left and right - we'd rather see you turn it down than have you throw it away at the end of the day).

*Take a poster tube for all the cool posters you are going to bring home (We offer rolled posters for this reason).

*Take advantage of the free shuttles! Get the schedule down on the first day, and you’ll be set (See you there).

*Read your conference book and make a plan. Perhaps you’ll veer from the plan, but having one is half the battle. Jot down your daily schedule, including where the room is, in your Spy Pad. Then you can leave that heavy book in your room. (Don't walk and read. I've seen several near-miss accidents when people have walked through the Exhibit Hall while staring down at their Spy Pad! Plus, you may miss something fabulous!)

*Go to the workshops that sound fun. I always go to some that I think will be GOOD for me to attend, even though another sounds more fun. Do the fun thing at least once, whether it applies to your job or not. It will apply somehow. (Please remember to visit the vendors in the Exhibit Hall - we're lots of fun!)

*Sit in on Notable discussions. Check the schedule– you can see how committees work and get to hear lots of opinions. Good networking place, too! (Networking is key.)

*Wear your badge at all meetings and events, but take it off when you go out into the street. (Exhibitors will most likely take their badges off before stepping onto the Shuttle Bus. Save us a seat. We'll be standing all day.)

*Network, network, network. Introduce yourself, ask friends and colleagues to introduce you. Go to events that you get invited to, even if it is just for a quick hello. (Yes, yes, yes - talk to people in line - even when you're trying to get into the restroom!)

*Do something fun. Give yourself a treat and do something non-work related. (And invite me along!)

*Drink lots of water. Take your own water bottle. Remember, tap water is regulated, and is probably just as good as that $2 plastic bottle of H20 you don’t need to buy! (Where are the $2 bottles? I think they're closer to $3 these days!)

*Go to the ALSC meetings. Great place to network and to hear division news. (Kane/Miller will have a table at the networking reception Thursday night. Stop by and pick up a FREE book.)

*Check out the author signings at vendor tables (they’ll be listed in your conference book). Books are often cheaper at conference, and you can get them signed… never too early to shop for those holiday gifts! (Kane/Miller won't have authors present...or books for purchase. We will have chocolate!)

*Use the Internet CafĂ© to check your e-mails. Don’t take a laptop just for e-mail! You can do it on site, for free. (Kane/Miller will be blogging during ALA - laptop required.)

*Take comfy walking shoes. You are going to be walking a lot. (Exhibitors will be standing during the day. Most of us will not be wearing comfy shoes.)

*Dress in layers. It may be hot outside, but those conference rooms can be downright frigid. (Air-conditioning one day, heater going the next. This is the most important tip from this list.)

*Take at least one dressy outfit. You might get invited to something swank and you should be prepared. Dressy, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. (Exhibitors - don't forget to bring at least one comfortable outfit - you may actually have time to lounge - or work out - before bed).

*Have fun! Conference can be exhausting, but mostly it is very exciting and inspiring. Enjoy every minute! (Exhibitors will need a vacation after the long - always over a weekend - event - thank goodness for the 4th of July!)

1 comment:

Rebecca Hickman said...

EXCELLENT advice! I'm so glad that I left my heavy laptop at home.