Before You Head to Topeka
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 tours, socials, and the Strength-Finders workshop that you would like to attend.
3) Bring a few extra dollars
· Silent Auction Purchases at Trade Show. Don’t forget there will be a silent auction at the Trade Show. Susan with Shawnee County Parks + Recreation has done an amazing job gathering items for this year's silent auction. It will be full of items from vendors, sports memorabilia, gift cards, and more. You will find a treasure that you might want to take home, so be prepared.
· Purchase a $10 Poker Hand for a chance to win big $$$. The 2020 KRPA Trade Show fundraiser is the Poker Run event. Purchase your $10 Poker Hand from a KRPA Board member or at the conference registration table when you arrive at conference for your chance to win big $$$ at the Trade Show. Click here to learn more about the fundraiser.
4) Find out who’s going
The people you’ll attend sessions with are as important as the sessions themselves. There’s no better time to network with your peers, connect with new KRPA members, or touch base with longtime friends than at a conference.
Connect with KRPA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #KRPAConference to find friends posting about conference. The app also offers a social page and access to reach out directly to other conference attendees.
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 2021 KRPA Conference in Manhattan
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 "Clear Vision" 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.