Who’s ready for ATD’s 2019 International Conference & Expo?
It’s that time of year again! Time for the world’s brightest minds in training, design, and talent development to meet up and see new ways to innovate our field. Just thinking about it gets me pumped UP.
Not enough excitement for you? Did I mention OPRAH will be there?? You heard me. THE Oprah. Breathing the same air. I feel enlightened already. And, Seth Godin and Eric Whitacre will be there, too!
Are you ready to make the most out of this year’s conference? Let me share a few things that can help you get prepared and be ready to take in as much as possible to make the most out of the conference. And the Oprah air.
#1 Pick your sessions before the conference.
Getting a look at all sessions beforehand will help focus your intentions and mark those that you feel will have the largest impact. Sessions will fill up quickly, so I recommend that you pick 2-3 options per time slot.
Check out the ATD Conference website for the Program Guide to find the complete listing of sessions along with their descriptions.
It might seem like overkill, but you don’t want to get stuck in a session that doesn’t add value to your overall goal of attendance, which you should have by the way – a goal or two or three!
Tay Tay Tip: Spend a few minutes thinking about what’s important for you to learn and do while you are at the conference to create some conference goals.
Personally, I have three conference goals. You can ask me about them when you run into me.
You also don’t want to miss out on an alternatively great session by trying to figure out your next move on the spot.
There are 12 content sessions and 3 industry tracks, which means there are a ton of options to choose from. This is both good and bad. Tons of variety, but not enough time to hit them all.
So pick your session in advance, as well as back-up sessions in case your first choice is full. And if you miss that favorite session, don’t fret! ATD offer records many sessions and provides access to them for all full-conference attendees and speakers for 90 days after the event. And, if you’re an ATD member, you can access them anytime.
Any session that is marked with a microphone icon is a recorded session. Isn’t that awesome? If you can’t catch it in person, you might be able to watch it later! I was struggling with which sessions to choose until I realized that I could watch many of the sessions in my pjs snacking on some carrots. With my post-Oprah glow.
Tay Tay Tip: If there were two sessions that I really wanted to attend and one had a microphone, I put the recorded session on my post-conference watch list. Then, I prioritized the course that wasn’t being recorded for my conference schedule.
#2 Schedule time for the Expo.
The conference sessions are loaded with great presenters and great content, but don’t forget about the Expo! It’s packed with amazing booths (free stuff!) and will take some time to comb through it all.
Take it in sections each day. The conference provides bags for all your freebies, so this will allow you to take those back to your room a little at a time. You won’t have to lug around a full day’s worth of free stuff or try to drag it into the packed conference sessions.
#3 Leave extra room for stuff.
After visiting the conference sessions and the Expo, you’ll start acquiring quite a pile to take home.
Tay Tay Tip: Pack lightly or with an extra bag to account for your cool new stuff. A friend of mine came home with a new tablet one year from a give-away!
There’s also a great bookstore available for purchases. There are bundles available based on different topics, which is great to get a bang for your buck with resources you didn’t even know about yet.
Bring a few business cards to share with other attendees! One of your goals should be to network and make new professional friends and connections. Don’t worry about bringing business cards for the Expo booths, however. Each booth can scan your badge to get your information.
#4 Bring the right stuff.
Wear comfortable shoes. I’ll say it again for those in the back. Wear shoes you can walk in for a loooong time. This conference is big and you don’t want uncomfortable shoes slowing you down.
Tay Tay Tip: Ladies, platform sandals are comfortable because they distribute your weight and the right pair can still look cute and dressy!
If you’re sensitive to air-conditioned environments (like me), bring a sweater for the sessions. Even if the weather is slated to be great, you might get cold sitting in the conference sessions.
If you still like to write everything down (like me), bring a notebook to take notes for the sessions. If you prefer to take notes on your phone or laptop, that’s great, too! Those notes will be a great reminder of everything you want to remember for later. Each day is loaded with information, so you definitely want to remember everything after the conference.
#5 Download the ATD app.
Everything you need to prepare for the conference and navigate while you’re there is located in the ATD Conference app. Search “ATD Events” in the app store on your device, or visit www.td.org/2019app to access the web app.
Once you get to the ATD Conference Event in the app, you can download the entire schedule, program, speakers, attendees, and exhibitors that will be in the Expo.
Check out the maps to get familiar with the venue. Know how to get to the convention center from your hotel.
Search the attendees to see who you know and set up some times to meet and network. Send me an in app message, to say, “hi!”
Tay Tay Tip: Make it a point to meet 5-10 new people every day! Network! Network!
At the conference, you can make some great connections that could lead to collaborations or even job opportunities down the road. At another conference I attended a few years ago, I met a great group of people and we still keep in contact today! I can’t speak highly enough of stepping out and connecting.
If you are in need of a FREE professional headshot, stop by the Headshot Lounge on Monday or Tuesday! Did I say, “It’s free!!!?”
The ATD Conference has it all–great sessions, great vendors, great stuff, and great attendees (like me). I can’t wait to see it all and meet you and just take in a great experience.
You get a great experience! And you get a great experience! Everybody gets a great experience! If Oprah believes it’s important enough to attend, that’s enough for me!
I hope to see you there! Be sure to let me know if you’re going. Maybe we can meet for coffee.
My Facebook Group is a great place to add your questions and engage with other instructional designers on different topics related to instructional design, so jump on in and join the conversation.