For those of you who have never attended WACE before, below are a few tips that can help you make the most of your time. And if you have any questions that are not addressed below, feel free to email your New Professionals Committee!
Bring business cards
Business cards are one of the quickest, most effective ways to introduce yourself and share your contact information. You may have only a brief moment to make contact with someone and handing them a business card is always better than a missed opportunity.
Go Prepared – Look at the programs ahead of time and make a plan with clear goals or objectives
People move from one conversation, session, or event to another quickly. It’s easy to get lost in the flow of things. Identify clear objectives of sessions to attend, who you hope to meet, and what you want to take away, prior to the event. Share best practices with colleagues from other universities.
Visit the exhibits, whether you are a purchaser or not.
They are great contacts to have and give away great stuff!
Stay at the hotel the Conference is in
If possible, make your travel plans early enough to ensure the ability to book your room at the hotel the conference is being held in. Not only will you save travel time, you increase your chances of bumping into colleagues from other Universities outside of the sessions.
Plan to meet people.
Don’t hesitate to walk up to people and just introduce yourself and what school you are representing. Make a plan to connect with certain college staff.
Don’t spend all your time outside of conference sessions using your phone, laptop or tablet. By circulating and looking open and engaged, you’ll make it more likely that someone else, looking for someone to talk to, will approach you.
Get out of comfort zone
Try the 5K fun run, present a program, it’ll help you build new skills!
Follow up after the conference.
You should have a number of business cards from people you’ve met. Send an e-mail or Linkedin invite summarizing an interesting point from the conversation and suggest whatever follow-up is appropriate (phone call, coffee/lunch, or simply “let’s keep in touch”). Where it makes sense, connect the person with others you know personally, where there are shared interests and a likelihood of a valued connection.