Preparing For The 2020 HDA Conference in San Diego

Melissa Brodsky

HDA Conference

January 22, 2020

Large crowd of people at a conference. The workd logo is in the lower left corner

It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or seasoned attendee, a conference can be overwhelming at any experience level. Be prepared for the HDA Conference in San Diego this March by knowing what to expect, and how to be ready to hit the ground running. The more prepared you are for the HDA Conference, the more you’ll get out of it. 

What To Bring To The Conference

  1. Pens. Have extra pens handy. You never know when or why you’ll need an extra one. 
  2. Extra chargers. For obvious reasons. We’re all dependent on our devices. And, when batteries die, part of us dies as well. Having an extra charger will keep your batteries ready to go.  
  3. Powerstrip. There are only so many plugs in the conference rooms. Having a powerstrip will allow you to keep the battery fully charged and ready to face any obstacle. Plus, it’s a great networking tool. 
  4. Snacks. Many conferences provide an early morning breakfast. But, there will be quite a gap in between meals, especially if your day is packed with different sessions. Stocking your bag with high-protein snacks that aren’t easily crushed by your computer will help you from getting “hangry”.
  5. Social media. OK, so you don’t really ‘bring’ social platforms with you. But, if you’re active on social media then connect with the conference, attendees, speakers, and sponsors. Make sure to follow the designated hashtags so you can keep up with the online conversation. It’s also a great opportunity to network while you’re in sessions. 
  6. Business Cards. This seems like a basic rule of thumb for conferences. Yet, they’re often completely forgotten, or not enough are brought.  

What To Do During The Conference

  1. Stay hydrated. It will keep you more alert. Plus, you may partake in libations, and the more water you drink, the less sluggish you’ll feel the following morning. 
  2. Create an agenda. Know what sessions you’re interested in and where they’re located. If you create your own schedule before the conference, you won’t be scrambling once you’re there. 
  3. Sleep. Late nights of drinking and socializing go hand-in-hand with conferences. But, it’s very important to get sleep in if you’re looking to get any value out of the conference. 
  4. Bring a small bag. You’re going to have a lot of business cards and marketing materials to carry around. Have a little bag, computer case, backpack, or whatever you feel comfortable carrying so that you have somewhere to put all those pieces of paper. 
  5. Your elevator pitch. Your ‘About You’ speech should be created prior to attending the conference. It needs to be clear and concise, and to the point. You’ll have very limited time to leave a lasting impression. 
  6. Network. Walk to sessions with other people. Sit at tables during meals with attendees you don’t know. Conferences are the perfect opportunity to expand your contact circles. 
  7. Sightsee.  If you have an opportunity, take a tour of the city where the conference is being held. 

What To Do After The Conference

  1. Follow up. Send out quick “nice to meet you” emails. Or, better yet, send them a card in the snail mail. Don’t forget to add those contacts into your CRM.
  2. Spread the information you picked up. Talk to your coworkers about the conference. Write an article for the company blog, or even your personal blog. Remember to use the designated hashtags when sharing the final piece on social media. 
  3. Catch up on sleep. Because, despite your best intentions, you probably didn’t get enough sleep while you were at the conference. 

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