AusAE’s Conference & Exhibition (ACE2016) is just around the corner and Aptify is thrilled to be sponsoring this great annual event.
Being a veteran of ACE (it helps this is only its second year) and association conferences in general, I want to share my top four tips and cheats to get you through these two days of sessions, exhibits, and mingling.
ACE is quickly becoming a staple in the association and NFP conference calendar, so you’ll need to be prepared to start the conference season right!
1. Get the App
Embrace the digital experience and get the ACE2016 app. Conference apps make the entire conference experience easier, particularly when originally short-listing the sessions you want to participate in. The app will also give reminders for social events and quite often show GPS locations of sessions and events so you can skip getting lost in Canberra’s huge Convention Centre.
While we are embracing the digital experience, don’t forget to follow the Twitter Stream at #ACEACT16. The ACE hash-tag will be the best way to see real-time reactions to session content and the conference experience from your peers. Add to the conversation and give feedback to speakers, delegates, and exhibitors.
2. Make your Business Card Your Phone Background
I recommend doing this at all times, but it is never more important than at a conference with hundreds of people. By making your business card your phone’s locked screen image, if you lose your phone, whoever finds it can easily reach you via land line, email, or Twitter. A bonus to doing this: if you run out of business cards you can quickly send the image to your peers via picture message.
In addition to ensuring the safety of your mobile phone, I also recommend finding the conference charging stations early. Charging stations are always a hive of activity at large conferences like ACE so be sure to take business cards (you never know who you’ll meet) while charging your phone.
3. Separate the Takeaways from the Filler
By takeaway, I don’t mean the kebab shop on the corner. I’m talking real, tangible ideas you can bring back to your office and take action on. Sometimes at conferences it can be really hard to separate the good ideas from the filler. Even worse, sometimes the good ideas seem like they would never work in your association.
My advice: start small and achievable. For example, I once saw Bobbi Mahlab speak at a conference on the importance of content strategies inside NFPs. After all, we are purpose-built organisations, we should have a concrete plan on how to execute a communication strategy to share our content. At the time, this concept was too large—too much work to be achievable at my association—so I took home one nugget of information: just start in the email subject line. I still use her advice to this day. Find something achievable and act on it the second you are back at work!
4. Don’t Peak on the First Night
Finally, don’t go too hard on the eve of the conference. The opening drinks of the conference will be exciting and enticing. There is networking, a fun speaker, great venue, but it is paramount that you save your energy for the next two days to come.
I look forward to seeing you all at the ACE conference this year. You can find myself and my colleague Rob Barnes at the Aptify-sponsored Stream D. Reach out in the comments below if you’d like to add your own item to the ACE2016 Cheat Sheet!