Here’s what I have to say about my first conference experience–WOW! Seriously, the 2018 TIA Convention was packed with valuable and exciting industry education, lots of wonderful connections, and most important of all, lessons I can take with me into the future! I can’t thank the TIA enough for putting together such an amazing event!
After getting home and grabbing some sleep, I started thinking about the convention and what ideas or lessons I brought home with me. I’ve come up with what I’m calling my three main takeaways.
Here they are:
Everyone is human.
You may believe that this is a no-brainer, but here me out. The title is on the nametag might be CEO, Sales Rep, or Custodian, but the truth is people are people. Most conversations start with a simple hello and end with a simple goodbye! At the start of the conference, I suffered from what I’m going to call fear of the title. But the truth is these conferences are all about networking, so people are a lot more receptive when a stranger walks up and starts asking questions pertaining to what they do and how they do it. The biggest battle is initiating the conversation. Once you’ve stepped up and introduced yourself, you’re golden! You can spread your wings, you social butterflies!
Sit in a high traffic area.
For me, this was the bar/lounge area. The hotel lobby at TIA contained both a bar and a Starbucks in the same area–I’ve never seen so many people in one spot at one time. Most diets consisted of Starbucks sandwiches, coffee, and beer. It’s a good idea to find the common area, make yourself comfortable, and let the networking begin. Trust me, he conversations will dictate themselves. You don’t have to sell anyone the world over a cup of coffee at 7 A.M. Be friendly, open to conversation, ask questions, and the rest will take care of itself.
Take care of yourself.
While everyone else fueled themselves with coffee, I thrived on Red Bulls and some delicious Doritos (don’t think I didn’t miss my wings). I’m young, so I didn’t see anything wrong with this…but my body sure did. Work days are much longer than normal at conferences, so it’s important to have energy to survive the long hours. I quickly learned that my nutritional intake wasn’t cutting it! Next time, I’ll find a case of water and eat as much fruit as I can!
Like I said before, TIA 2018 was exciting, fun, and ultimately valuable. I hope these tips will help you anytime you attend a conference. They’re sure to help me!