Before You Head to Wichita
Be prepared. Make the most of your time and resources at the 2018 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.
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. Make sure to attend conference-wide events such as the keynote speakers. You can log into the conference app and save the agenda that you would like to personally schedule for yourself. 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 tours or social that you would like to attend.
3) Purchase your Golden Ticket
The 2018 KRPA Trade Show fundraiser is the Golden Ticket event. Purchase your $20 Golden Ticket here between January 2-16, from a KRPA Board member or at the conference registration table for your chance to win $400 at the Trade Show.
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.
You can join the Facebook conference event page or use the #KRPAConference to find friends on Twitter. 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
· Throw in a few extra dollars. Don’t forget there will be a silent auction at the Trade Show. Every year it is full items from vendors, sports memorabilia, Coleman products, and more. You will probably find a treasure that you might want to take home, be prepared.
When You Arrive
6) Come to the registration desk
Don’t get stuck at the registration table and miss your first session. Visit Kelli Maydew 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 2019 KRPA Conference in Hutch
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 take-aways. Enter new contacts into your address book.
10) Keep Riding the Wings of Change at 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.