We’re only a week out from the biggest ever communications conference in the Gulf region. We want to ensure you make the most of your time at EMENAComm, the IABC-organized event happening next week, on February 11-12, 2019 in Bahrain. Here are some tips to ensure you have an incredible experience.
Reach Out & Connect
You’ve got to prep before you even arrive at the event. A conference is the time to meet new people. It’s also a time to build on the relationships you already have. If you know of people you want to reconnect with or get to know better who will be attending — clients, vendors, friends-of-friends — reach out a week or two before the conference to set up a time to meet for coffee or a meal while you’re at the event. You can do this with the EMENAComm app, which you can download onto your iPhone or Android device. Download the Whova app and enter the event invitation code emexe to engage with both fellow attendees and speakers.
Conference can get very busy, very quickly. Avoid the rush, come early and meet the organizing team (who are extra welcoming, especially to IABC newbies). You’ll have time to talk to them about what your interests are, and they’ll be able to advise you about what sessions will make sense for them. You’ll also be able to meet like-minded individuals and also enjoy the good coffee and croissants.
Choose Sessions Wisely
At EMENAComm there’s an abundance of sessions to choose from, over 40 presentations and workshops (there’s never been a comms event which has offered so many sessions in the Gulf). There’s six tracks, on internal communications, external communications, leadership, technology, skills development, and CSR/reputation.
When you’re plotting your schedule, take a look at the conference as a whole. Look at all the sessions and events you’re interested in, then make sure you’re getting to attend a range of topics and skill-building sessions, and still allowing for some time to socialize.
If you do find yourself in a session that isn’t quite what you thought it was going to be, it’s ok to skip and go to a different one. A conference is all about using your time wisely and getting the most out of all that’s there.
To check out the agenda, go to the EMENAComm website and use the Whova app (remember to enter the event invitation code emexe). You can start building your schedule from these two resources.
Remember To Take Notes!
There’s two days full of presentations. There’s even more to take in — and you’re probably not going to remember all of it when you get home. So, collect your notes and information in a way that makes it easy to access when you return to the office. Regardless of your note-taking format of choice (pen and paper, laptop, tablet, smartphone), at the end of each session you attend, write down the three key takeaways and any follow-up you want to do on the topic or with the speakers. This will help jog your memory and give you specific to-dos when you get back to work.
If you need extra help, ask for handouts or presentations. The team will also be sharing video playbacks of the sessions via the Whova app and other platforms after EMENAComm is over.
Engage With Speakers
The speakers at any conference are likely key experts in your field, and EMENAComm is no exception; there are 50 experts in their field, who have come from all over the world. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or hang around (even as the last person) at a session to say hello, tell them you loved the presentation, and grab their business cards. And if you don’t get a chance to ask your question in person, you can always follow up by asking them via Twitter or on LinkedIn, which you can find on both the app and the website.
Put Away The Smartphone
I know you’re tempted. You’re thinking — But I have so many emails waiting! Here’s the thing however: Conferences are all about human interaction, and you don’t want your electronic devices to be a barrier to making those connections. So while you don’t have to disconnect completely (you have our full permission to tweet about the event, as long as you use the hashtag #EMENAComm), put the phone away when you’re waiting for a workshop to begin or taking a break in the coffee area, and give yourself a chance to make conversation with the other attendees around you.
Pay It Forward
You will have gained a lot of new information, inspiration, and contacts at EMENAComm. One of the best things you can do with those resources is to share them with your fellow co-workers, colleagues and friends. Send out videos of the sessions you thought were particularly valuable, give a talk about something you learned at your next staff meeting, and tell your boss about some of the interesting contacts you met. You’ll spread your new skills and knowledge—and hopefully your colleagues will reciprocate the next time they go to a great event (hopefully EMENAComm in 2020).
For all those attending EMENAComm, you’re going to have a wonderful time, so make the most of it. For all those who aren’t, why don’t you come too? There are a few tickets remaining, so book now (you can even use the discount code EM19Speaker).