You’ve registered for your next conference, now it’s time to get ready. Besides thinking about how many non-wrinkle shirts, collapsible bags and toiletries you should bring, you want to think pragmatically about the things you’ll actually use once you have arrived.
Here are some items you should add to your suitcase before heading out to your next conference.
It’s open season when it comes to acquiring business cards at a conference. As sales teams are attempting to collect as many leads as possible and conference goers are trying to establish connections, it’s always safe to bring extra business cards.
Along these same lines, it’s also a good idea to keep a pen on hand to write down any notes that makes your new contact memorable when you’re ready to follow up. You might want to bring a special case or ziplock bag to keep on your new contacts all in one safe place. You wouldn’t want to lose them after all that networking and countless conversations.
Both material and ephemeral, chargers are extremely important when going to a conference. As you’re taking notes in sessions, answering some emails, or reaching out to someone you’ve just connected with, you’ll want to make sure you have your computer, tablet, or phone charger. If you have any spares lying around, don’t forget to bring them as well – maybe even a power strip. You never know who you’ll run into who might be in need of some extra charge.
Conferences can also be physically draining, so make sure to pack whatever pick-me-up you need, be it snacks, a book, or you might want to pick up one of these for a quick nap.
Some conferences may have their own app to help guide you through the event with tips on what to do and ways to engage. If not, you’ll want to assemble your own army of apps to optimize your experience.
Apps like Skype and Twitter will help you stay connected and help you live-tweet. You should have Google maps on deck to help you navigate around town if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Apps like Lyft or Uber can help get you around, although riding around San Francisco on public transportation is also an experience in and of itself that you should try. If you’re going about the conference and are already thinking about what you’ll be having for dinner, you could make reservations with OpenTable.
Although there is usually some sort of wifi connection at conferences, it tends to be extremely spotty since everyone attending will be connected. If you’re planning on sending emails or searching the corners of the internet for information on a hot prospect, it pays to plan ahead and bring a portable wifi hotspot.
The trade show floor is always a hotspot for swag. Companies will be handing out T-shirts, pens, stress-balls, bottle openers, thumb drives — anything you can put a company logo on. It could be handy to bring a reusable bag to carry your swag and any flyers you might pick up.
With tons of sessions, workshops, and booths to visit, conferences can be overwhelming if you don’t plan ahead. Check out this list of sessions that content marketers shouldn’t miss at the 2015 Marketing Nation Summit.
You’ll want to come barging through those conference doors with a list of goals you want to achieve by the end. Are you hoping to spread the word about your company? Pick up some valuable tips from different sessions? Network with like-minded folks? Target highly qualified leads?
However your goals are focused, take some time before you leave for the conference to think about what you want to accomplish, action items to make that happen and how your time can best be spent to help move the needle for your company.
Keep in mind that packing light for any occasion is always a good idea. Chances are you will have a lot to bring back.
If you’re attending the Marketing Nation Summit, make sure to let us know by signing up and stopping by booth 223! We’ll have something special waiting for those who pre-register here.