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10 Tips for a Successful Conference Experience

12 Jan 2022 3:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Before You Head to Manhattan

Be prepared.  Make the most of your time and resources at the 2020 KRPA Conference and Trade Show by sitting down and formulating a plan first.

1)      Download the conference app

The KRPA conference app contains all of the essential information that you will need while attending conference. It has the schedule, the speakers, the vendors, maps for the conference center, and more. You should have received an email inviting you to the app from Crowd Compass. If you did not, please click here to learn how to access the app. Don’t forget to allow push notifications from this app during your time at conference so you don't miss out on any important updates.

2) Review the schedule.

This one’s a no-brainer. Set a goal for what you’d like to learn at the conference, and use the schedule to devise a plan to meet your goal. Log-in and create a customized agenda within the conference app. Make sure to attend conference-wide events such as the keynote speakers. If you prefer a hard-copy, please remember to print the schedule-pdf before you arrive at conference.

Also, make sure you are registered on the KRPA website for the park tour, the Olympic, and Painting social.

3) Bring some extra cash

Silent Auction Purchases. Don’t forget there will be a silent auction at the Trade Show and run via Facebook. Andy from Manhattan Parks and Recreation has done a great job gathering items for this year's silent auction. It will be full of items from vendors, apparel, gift cards, and more. You will find a treasure that you might want to take home, so be prepared.
"Great Scotch" Spirit Pull. Bring your cash and your luck to the Branch Award Social. The conference planning committee will host the "Great Scotch" spirit pull at the Branch Award social on Wednesday, January 19th. The "Great Scotch" fundraiser is a blind draw where every ticket buyer wins. A variety of spirits are placed in individual bags so the labels can’t be seen. The spirits range from beer, wine, scotch and more. The wrapped bottles are numbered. Each person who buys a $20 Great Scotch ticket then selects a number that corresponds to a bag which could contain anything from a bottle of smooth Glenlivet Scotch or a case of Natty Light.
Trade Show Raffle. The "Save the Scholarship Fund" fundraiser will be a raffle drawing for great prizes like the Oculus Quest 2, gifts cards, cash and more throughout the Trade Show. Purchase 10 tickets for $20 from a KRPA Board member or at the registration table. Participants then enter the raffle by placing their tickets in prize can of your choice placed through the Trade Show. Is it better to put all your tickets into one drawing, or distribute them over all the drawings? The choice is up to you. The winning ticket for each prize will be drawn at 2:30pm. Winners do not have to present at the time of drawing.

4) Watch the 80's Classic "Back to the Future"

Here's a special tip for this year's conference. Grab some popcorn and take a break before next Wednesday to watch "Back to the Future." Whether you grew up dreaming of riding a hoverboard or wonder "What's a DeLorean?", this movie is worth your watch!

5) Bring the right gear

·         Pack enough business cards. Make sure you have some business cards handy to share with new contacts.

·         Bring layers of clothes. Conference center rooms notoriously fluctuate in temperatures because of the location or number of session attendees, so dress in layers and you will be prepared for any situation

When You Arrive

6) Come to the registration desk

Don’t get stuck at the registration table and miss your first session. Visit Jamie Reed and her awesome volunteers early to pick up your nametag, your CEU form (if needed) and get any questions answered.

7) Divide and conquer

If you’re attending with coworkers, try and see as much as possible. Splitting up for sessions will maximize how much you’re able to learn and ensure that each of you has unique insights to take back to your company.

On your own?  Discovering how your agency fits into the larger Kansas park and recreation field and how other agencies run, is an invaluable insight. A conference provides a unique opportunity to pick the brains of fellow members and agencies, which leads us to Tip #8.

8) Connect with fellow KRPA Members

Networking with other professionals in your field is a highlight of the KRPA conference and our association. Make time to connect with fellow members. Attend the branch social and meet people in your field of expertise. Exchange information--- when you have questions and need help later in the year, you’ll have the new connections to contact for support.

When you are home and waiting for the 2022 KRPA Conference in Overland Park

9) Gather your thoughts

All that information you gathered from sessions and new contacts from the conference and the trade show can quickly be forgotten if not organized right away. Write down your key takeaways. Enter new contacts into your address book. Fill out the KRPA post-conference survey which will be on the app and sent out via email.

10) Prepare to share your Ideas for future when you arrive home

Send follow-up notes and LinkedIn requests to your new contacts while the conference is still fresh in your mind. Include a personalized message to accompany your request on LinkedIn. Remember to make yourself memorable by reminding your new contact what you discussed. 

Schedule a team meeting for the week or two after conference. Share the insights you gained at conference that are likely to be useful to your agency. Or, write an email to document the most valuable information. There’s no better place than a conference to take stock of the state of your agency and your profession. 

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