Pack a sweater!

I recently attended Digital Summit Detroit, a digital marketing conference held at Cobo Center. Over the course of the two-day event, I took 12-plus pages of notes, posted a few Instagram stories, and came up with a few tips to get the most out of these types of events:

  1. Pack a sweater. I always dress in layers, despite the season, because the room temperatures are never consistent. One room is inevitably going to be FREEZING and one room will be roasting.
  2. Bring a water bottle. Convention centers and meeting rooms tend to run on the dry side, which can lead to increased thirst. Unless you don’t mind paying $6 for a bottle of water, bring a refillable one and take advantage of coolers and water fountains.
  3. Put your phone in low battery mode. I was on my phone all day, taking pictures of slides I couldn’t transcribe quick enough, snapping selfies, and following the conference hashtag. I managed to leave each day with my battery at 30% thanks to the power saving feature of low battery mode on iOS. Without it, my battery would have been drained by lunch.
  4. Set your expectations. You always want to go into conferences with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Not every session is going to be life changing, but it’s not unreasonable to expect that you learn one new thing or have one takeaway you can implement from each session.
  5. Learn to use Twitter. Twitter is all about having a conversation, and it was a wonderful way for me to learn about what was happening in the sessions I couldn’t attend thanks the posts of other participants. It also was a fun way to network with people I didn’t get to meet in person after the event. The conference hashtag allows me to go back for a refresher on topics or speakers later.

What conference tips would you add to this list? Add them in the comments below!

Nadia Zerka is an account director at Imagine. She can be found furiously tweeting from her seat during conferences.

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