The ASET Annual Conference is an exciting opportunity to make connections, learn, and have fun! With so much to do, attending your first large conference can be a daunting experience. But with the right planning – and a good pair of walking shoes! – you can conquer it like a pro. We asked the ASET Membership Committee for tips on how first-time attendees can make their time at the Annual Conference as productive and stress-free as possible. Here is what they shared:
Planning for the Conference
- Prior to your arrival, set up the ASET Conference Portal, which will give you access to a schedule of events, sessions, networking opportunities with attendees as well as exhibitors, and more. Be sure to upload your profile picture and complete your profile. Click here to learn more.
- Once you access the Conference Portal, you will have access to the complete schedule. Take time to read the session descriptions and add them to your schedule.
- Mark the presentations you are interested in, and try to attend as many as possible. Add them to your schedule by clicking on "Add to Calendar" under each session. Please note that you won't be able to access a session until 5 minutes before its schedule.
- If you are attending in person, bring comfortable, business casual attire to wear during the conference. Don't forget to pack a light sweater since some of the meeting rooms may be over-air conditioned.
- If you have business cards, be prepared to swap them with people you meet.
- During downtime at the conference, take advantage of the hotel's pools and other outdoor activities. Hint: Pack a swimsuit and workout gear.
When You Arrive at the Conference
- Give yourself extra time on the first day to find your way around the hotel, and familiarize yourself with the conference layout, registration area, meeting rooms, and exhibit hall.
- Check in at the registration desk (located in the Town & Country Foyer) to receive your name badge and ribbon, and a tote bag with conference materials.
- The ribbons are color-coded to help you identify each attendee's connection to ASET; make sure to review the ribbon legend in the ASET Conference Program Book (first-time attendees are teal).
- Join the conversation on Twitter using #ASETconference.
During the Conference
- The conference includes several built-in networking opportunities, including the Thursday Luncheon and Awards Ceremony, the Thursday Night Exhibit Hall Welcome Reception, the Friday Lunch and Learn, the Friday Night Social, and the Saturday Special Interest Section Luncheon. These events are great opportunities to meet new people you don't know.
- Introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you at a session. Don't be afraid to ask questions and participate in discussions – you are among your peers! You will begin to get your face and name out in the community, and that can be helpful down the road.
- If you happen to be in a group in which you know a number of people who may not know each other, take a minute to make sure everyone is introduced. Simply sharing a name and institution can often start conversations. This is helpful for those who struggle to start or carry conversations.
- As you are grabbing coffee during the breaks, try striking up a conversation with the person in front of you by saying something as simple as "How are you enjoying the conference?" or "What session did you just come from?" These can be quick conversations, or they may open up the possibility for a longer one after you've both gotten your coffee.
- Drink plenty of water, and make sure to go to bed at a reasonable time; with so much to learn at the conference, you need to stay fresh and engaged every day.
- Once you return home, take a look on LinkedIn or Twitter for the people you met. If you connect in the days immediately following the conference, they will be more likely to remember you and accept your invitation to connect.