SUCCESS MAP. Your Cheat Sheet. to Convention and Event Attendance.

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1 SUCCESS MAP Your Cheat Sheet to Convention and Event Attendance

2 YOUR CHEAT SHEET TO CONVENTION AND EVENT ATTENDANCE Cengage Learning: Event Services Cengage Learning strives to support today s educators by providing opportunities to engage with us as well as with colleagues. Our events offer an excellent opportunity to gather with colleagues to discuss teaching topics such as student engagement and digital learning as well as learn about Cengage Learning digital products and related best practices. We offer various types of virtual events from virtual workshops that are interactive in nature and focus on technology to lecture series as well as webinars focusing on teaching topics. We are also committed to supporting your efforts and associations by attending and exhibiting at many conventions. Every year, Cengage Learning sponsors numerous events and exhibits at hundreds of conventions around the country (and world!). We enjoy the opportunity to meet with you, exchange ideas, and create a community centered on engaging today s learners. We also know that, by participating, you re making a significant investment of time, money, and intellect. With this in mind, Jason Berena, Sarah Miskelly, and Ilana Sims from our Conventions and Events teams share their top suggestions for getting everything possible out of your attendance. BEFORE YOU GO A bit of planning and forethought can help you make the best use of your time and help ensure you re getting the most out of your experience. Set up your travel and accommodations First and foremost, you ll want to ensure that your registration, travel, and accommodations are in order. If travel is involved, book your flight and hotel ahead of time. To aid your planning, make a visit to the convention or event website your first stop, as it should include information on hotel room reservations, travel arrangements, and special registration rates and offers. Most conventions will offer discounts most of which have a pre-event deadline, so book early, before spaces fill up. Just because a convention has a room block, doesn t mean that they have a room for everybody first come, first served. Make the most of the agenda Your most useful planning tool the conference/event agenda should be at the website as well. A month or so beforehand, the website will offer a schedule of what s happening during the meeting. Generally, they will offer the program of sessions (which will include an updated agenda with room assignments and speaker information). In addition to any pre-work or group work you may need to participate in, the agenda will alert you to pre-events, general and breakout sessions, and special events (such as receptions). Some special events might require attendees to purchase a ticket, so it s good to do some research and plan ahead. Use this online preliminary schedule to mark what sessions you would like to attend, what exhibitors to visit, and what special events you would like to participate in. Knowing how your days will unfold will allow you to mentally prepare ahead of time. 2 CENGAGE LEARNING

3 Design your personal schedule Preparing your personal schedule before you go allows you to get the biggest bang for your buck, so craft your plan of attack ahead of time. Know what exhibitors booths you want to visit and what sessions you want to attend. You are taking the time out of your busy schedule and sometimes paying out of your own pocket so be sure to optimize your experience. Are you attending with multiple people from your institution? If so, it is a great idea to divide and conquer, so you can all spread out and get the most information as possible to bring back to your colleagues. Stay up to date Once you are registered, keep up with the latest on the event or conference. Subscribe to association or event newsletters, which often include links to the most current information on arrangements and events. And, if available, download the convention mobile app. Most apps allow you to create your schedule and a to-do list for the convention. Make your connections Are you interested in meeting with people from a particular organization? If they haven t listed any appearances on the convention or event website, check with that group s representative to see if they are attending or exhibiting and if they are planning any special events around this meeting. Explore your surroundings As you plan, consider the time you will spend outside the sessions and exhibit hall. If you have down time, gather up some peers who are also attending and check out local attractions and night life. If you are looking for ideas on what to do, the convention website can be a great help here as well. Usually, the sites will include a what to do in the city section, which includes local tourist spots, restaurants near the convention or event site, and other activities the association might sponsor, such as tours. To explore additional options, visit the city s web page or visitors bureau to gather ideas, restaurants, museums, performance arts schedules. Some cities offer great evening cultural opportunities. If there are any professional sports teams in the area, check out their schedule to see if you can attend a game. Use Yelp as a tool to see where locals like to eat, and check out Groupon or LivingSocial for that area to see if there are any interesting deals that you can capitalize on. CENGAGE LEARNING 3

4 Bring the right tools In addition to packing appropriate meeting attire, include the following items in your luggage: Additional Tip! If at all possible, unplug for your event, so that you can fully engage with everything that s going on at the meeting. (Remember how you feel when your students text and check during your lectures?) You will get the most out of your event if you are tuned in. Pens. Always bring a few, since at least one is bound to disappear by the end of a convention. And make sure one is a highlighter, which you can use to mark up your program and note the sessions you would like to attend. A small notepad. You can use this to jot down ideas and questions that come up during sessions, or take note of the things that you notice in a convention s exhibitor hall. You may also want to write down any questions or comments you want to follow up on after the conference. Business cards. Not all conventions and exhibitors have a badge scanner to capture your information, so the old fashioned method of using your paper business card is still in effect. Bring a stack for networking purposes; that way, you won t have to write down your information for every connection you make or every exhibit booth you visit. Small tote bag. While some associations give out bags, it s always nice to be prepared just in case. In addition to providing you with the means to carry belongings throughout the conference, you ll have a place to put any flyers, papers, or giveaways you gather. Your laptop or tablet. Take notes and stay connected. Important: don t forget the charger! Other items that will make your experience a bit more comfortable. Bring a light sweater or jacket. You never know what the temperature will be like inside a hotel ballroom! A re-usable water bottle can also be handy; more conventions are going green and offering water stations for you to fill up and save the money that places can charge for a small single-use bottle. And, bring your questions! If you are looking for something specific in the exhibit hall, or know you will see a vendor you already work with, now is your chance to ask them questions and get one-on-one attention. 4 CENGAGE LEARNING

5 WHILE YOU RE THERE Your days will be filled with events to attend, people to meet, and exhibits to explore! Ensure that your time is well spent by adopting these additional practices. Review the agenda Before you arrive onsite, review the agenda as well as any items on your to-visit list to help plan your day and mentally prepare for what s ahead. (Another tip: Write your name in your agenda! There will potentially be hundreds of these identicallooking books floating around, so you will want to make sure you pick up your personalized copy.) Keep your schedule handy If you are at a conference where you select which sessions you would like to attend, make a daily schedule for yourself. Print it out or upload it to your smartphone so that you can have it with you always. A helpful hint is to create appointments or reminders on your phone to ping you before the start of a session or event. Get settled early Arrive well before the start time to ensure you get parking, seating, and refreshments. And once you arrive, don t be afraid to mark up your program onsite. Highlight vendors you want to see, sessions that might be nice to see, and other points of interest to you. Additional Tip! Don t forget to take care of yourself. Bring your water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day. And do take a few minutes to walk outside. It s a miracle what five minutes of fresh air can do for your energy level! Be prepared for each session Take a note pad or laptop/tablet to take down any notes. And come armed with questions. You may have some about the topic or session, but other questions may come to mind as you listen to the discussion. If so, ask! You probably are not the only person with the same question. A presenter loves to answer questions. It s instant gratification, because it shows that folks are really paying attention. Additionally, bring your own best practices if you have experience in the topic. Peer sharing is very valuable! Make connections with others Make the most of your chance to meet like-minded professionals. Get up and introduce yourself. People are more likely to interact if you portray yourself as open and engaged. Introduce yourself to your neighbors when you are seated at a breakout session. The topic of that session is an interest to both you and the other attendee, so spark up a conversation on the topic or an issue you are facing regarding that topic. While you are chatting, don t forget to exchange business cards! Jot names, s, phone numbers either in the notes section of your smartphone or inside your conference program. Or try an even techier approach: download an app like BUMP and set it up to exchange contact information. CENGAGE LEARNING 5

6 Additional Tip! Don t forget to continue the engagement! Apply a few new techniques to your teaching. Continue your involvement on Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media channels. Your new connections will engage in return. Take time to visit the exhibits If the convention or event includes an exhibit hall, it s smart to have a plan for your visit there, too. Review the exhibit hall floor plan in the agenda; this will help you create a list of exhibitors you would like to visit. Work the exhibit floor from one end to the other you will be less likely to miss something of interest. And do try to go during an off-peak time (that is, not during lunch or breaks) the exhibit hall is less crowded and you don t have to fight your way into talking to any of the exhibitors. Speaking of exhibitors Don t be afraid to ask questions and inquire. Although some exhibitors might seem intimidating, remember they are there to help you and answer any questions you have. They might have a better solution for you or could put you in touch with someone who can help lift your workload. Connect on social media Check the convention Facebook or Twitter pages to see if there are any special events or meet ups. And participate actively yourself! If there is a Facebook page or Twitter hashtag for the event, engage in the discussion and post your own thoughts and experiences. You never know who will respond to you! [The Twitter hashtag (#) will categorize your tweets, making it easy for others to find your messages and for you to find theirs, too. This hashtag will generally appear in a number of places, including conference- or event-related materials, signage, and the organization s own social media posts.] ONCE YOU RE HOME The experience doesn t end just because you are back to your daily routine. Make time to follow up on all the ideas you gathered and connections you made. Collect your thoughts If you need to write any reports for your institution about your experience, it is better to write down your notes and thoughts when you get home while it is still fresh in your head, rather than wait a couple of days to do so. Follow up People generally have a post-event high; they are really excited about learning something new and meeting new peers. Be sure to capitalize on that high! Send an shortly after the event ends, asking questions of the presenters or exhibitors that you connected with, or touching base with the personal or professional contacts you made. This ensures that these individuals remember you and that you keep the discussion going, and increases the likelihood of keeping the contact relevant. 6 CENGAGE LEARNING

7 Say thank you Another nice touch: the host, presenter, event coordinator, and/or association to thank them and ask any follow up questions. It really makes someone s day to receive a thank you. Review the post-meeting materials You can also often extend your experience by reviewing materials such as presentation slides, videos, photos, or other documents from the meeting. Though all events are different, many organizations will offer these materials on their website, and they will typically appear within a few days to a week. Stay tuned to your or social-media feeds to learn when they are available. Do you have your own advice to share with your colleagues? Send your thoughts to And learn more about our live events, webinars, and convention attendance at CENGAGE LEARNING 7

8 CENGAGE LEARNING AN OVERVIEW Cengage Learning is a leading provider of innovative teaching, learning and research solutions for the academic, professional, and library markets worldwide. The company s products and services are designed to foster academic excellence and professional development, increase student engagement, improve learning outcomes, and deliver authoritative information to people whenever and wherever they need it. Through the company s unique position within both the library and academic markets, Cengage Learning is providing integrated learning solutions that bridge from the library to the classroom. With annual revenues of approximately $2 billion, the company has 5,500 employees with operations in more than 20 countries around the world. 13M-AG0719

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