The Association for Conflict Resolution’s annual conference in Austin, Texas is less than a month away. But don’t just go to the conference. Plan to get the most out of your investment and experience there!
This newsletter edition is devoted to tips for getting the most out of the conference and suggestions for ways you and I can meet up. I’ve met so many of you online and would love to see you in person! And those of you I’ve trained and taught and met in other ways, it would be just terrific to see you again. So, onward:
- Identify 2-3 important goals
- Pre-select good sessions
- Go to both formal and informal social events
- Do more than browse the exhibitor hall
Identify 2-3 important goals
Knowing in advance what you most want to get out of the conference increases the likelihood you’ll achieve it. Sit down for 15 minutes before you go (or use some of that plane and airport time) to answer these questions:
- For the conference to have been an excellent investment in my ADR career’s future, what 2-3 things do I most achieve there?
- Are there people from which or topics about which I need or want to learn more?
- What 2-3 things will I commit to doing to help forward my ADR career? (Go ahead — stretch yourself a little here.)
For more good ideas to prepare for the conference, check out Liz Strauss’ Missed Opportunities and High Returns of Attending a Conference.
Pre-select good sessions
While sessions can get canceled or re-scheduled, most will go as planned. Taking a few minutes to sit down in advance with the ACR conference program gives you latitude to identify good workshop prospects before you get sidetracked by the pace and abundance of options upon arrival.
And hell, I’m biased, but if you’re interested in mediation marketing with the Internet, I hope you’ll attend Nancy Hudgins’ and my workshop, Blog Your Practice or Your Middle East Peace Plan to the Next Level on Saturday morning.
Go to both formal and informal social events
ACR sponsors a number of formal networking opportunities at breaks, meals and evenings. They’re terrific ways to meet up with folks you don’t get to see often enough and to make new connections.
Informal and off-the-cuff social time can be as fun and valuable. Try inviting a group of new connections for lunch and get out of the conference hotel for a bit. In that vein, let me invite you to lunch informally:
I’m looking for fellow ADR folks to hang out with over lunch on the Friday of the conference. If you’re interested in joining me, drop me a line with your cell phone number, say you’re coming via Yahoo Events, or look for me in the lobby near the front doors at 12:30 on September 26.
Do more than browse the exhibitor area
Some of the best conversations and learning experiences I’ve had at ACR conferences have happened in the exhibitor hall. The exhibitors aren’t just hawking their wares or offering learning opportunities and information — they’re often committed to the ADR field and love to chat about it.
When you visit the exhibitor area, take a quick cruise around to see what’s there, then walk through again at a leisurely pace. Sample. Chat. Ask questions. Network. Learn. Come back more than once — exhibitors come and go and you’ll run into new folks each time.
I’ll have a table for book sales and signings of Making Mediation Your Day Job, and I hope you’ll stop by to say hello. I know I’ll love chatting with you. If you’ve already got a copy of the book, I’d be happy to inscribe it for you!
Digest of Mediator Tech articles from the last month
In case you didn’t catch them the first time around, here’s a digest of the past month’s articles at Mediator Tech:
- Your website isn’t about you, it’s about them
- Success leaves clues: Nancy Hudgins
- How to cure an allergic reaction to mediation marketing
- Are you selling the shovel or the hole?
Pack those business cards and I’ll see you in Austin,