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Pre Conference Travel and Logistics Planning

Pre Conference Travel and Logistics Planning

In my new role, I’ll be attending and hosting lots of conferences and meetups. This means traveling probably as much as twice a month to other places, and that means lugging all the stuff a technological nomad needs to take along to stay viable. Here’s a list that I’m compiling that contains some obvious and maybe not-so-obvious pre-plans.

Pre-Conference Travel Checklist

  • Clothes. This is a given to TAKE clothes, but be sure to have a mix of multi-use, casual-to-faux-formal clothes. Take fitness clothes, if you can, too.
  • Toiletries. The US has just approved using a quart-sized sealable plastic bag full of travel-size toiletries (shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, etc).
  • Business Cards. ALWAYS bring business cards. If you’re not traveling for your day job, print your own at somewhere like VistaPrint.
  • If you print your own, add WHAT YOU DO FOR OTHERS/WHAT YOU WANT FROM OTHERS on the card. (Example: Chris Brogan. Pulvermedia. Looking to meet and talk about the future of video on the internet.)
  • Chargers. This is the one most people miss. Double check that you have one charger for each piece of gear.
  • Transfer cables. I shot movie footage a few weeks ago, and then couldn’t display it anywhere because I didn’t have the right cable to share it.
  • Energy bars. Plane snacks are fewer and further between, and hotel snacks aren’t that great either. Take a half dozen energy bars for quick, good, calories.
  • Reading material and an mp3 player. There’s lots of travel time wasted. Take podcasts and books/magazines with you.
  • USB thumb drive(s). Take one for your data, but consider picking up a cheapie 32MB one to give out, if need be. Smaller and easier to manage than bringing along CDs or DVDs to burn, depending on the size of the media you want to share.
  • 3×5 cards or a notepad, and a pen. Are you kidding? This is on EVERY list.
  • Maps. Use your mapper of choice: Google? MapQuest? Yahoo? but use one. Map out all the parts of the city or cities that you’ll be traveling. Get directions both ways (to and from). Build these into a little binder, if you want, or at least color-tag them so that you know which one to pull out when.
  • Accommodation info. I *always* forget the name of the hotel I booked, because there are often multiples tapped for an event. I also share this with family and friends, so that people know where to find me in an emergency.
  • Prescriptions. Make sure your medicine needs are up to date. Sometimes, you can contact your doctor and ask for an additional prescription, just in case you run into trouble somewhere else. This’ll save you some time, especially if your med is important.
  • Bring a crapload (technical term) of Ziplok gallon bags, and maybe some quart bags, too. They’re insanely useful, for millions of things.
  • A roll of duct tape beats a lint brush any day. If you don’t want the whole role, peel off a long strip and re-wrap it carefully.

Targeted Planning

So here’s something people rarely do before attending a conference: target who’s going to attend. If you’re going to a trade show in your industry, get out on the site’s attendee list, see who’s coming, and look for the following:

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  • Company blogs.
  • Technorati mentions.
  • Personal blogs of attendees.
  • Industry news in general.

You could build a reasonably robust packet of information through a quick (but deep) read through your RSS reader of choice. (I like Bloglines for a web-side reader). And this will give you more conversation grist for the conference. Further, if you happen to need something, on behalf of your company or yourself, you’ll have the pre-knowledge of who’s doing what in your industry. If you learn that people are hiring, or that someplace just had a layoff, you might even find a new job, or fill the jobs you need filled at your company.

Networking Tips

Lots of people forget that conferences aren’t just about the expo floor and the presentations. It’s about getting to know other people in your industry (or in the area of your passion), and echanging ideas. The key element of this happening at the show is your pitch. What are you going to say to start an engaging conversation? I’ve mentioned going to 15 Second Pitch before to learn some great tips, and build your own pitches online for free. But here’s another tip to go with that one: Build a great 5 second soundbite, a 15-30 second teaser, a 2 minute trailer, and then the full boat conversation. What?

The 5 second soundbite is what you say shortly after people look for your badge (wear this on your right side, if you shake right-handed). It should NEVER be your job title. It should be something about what you do, what you’re looking for, or what you offer. (By the way, I’m not the expert. Laura is. Go see her for details).

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Tthe 15-30 second teaser is like the warmup to tell people just a little more if they bite on your soundbite. This should give them just a little more of the story, to show the other person where they fit into your ecosystem.

The 2-3 minute trailer is like a movie trailer. You’ve gotta show the best of your idea/offering/whatever in this 2-3 minutes, because this is your shot. You watch trailers, right? Do they help you decide whether to see a movie or not? Of course. Make your trailer really compelling, but then, you have to deliver.

The rest is just the full conversation. Remember to give the other person time to talk. Make your presentation about them, as best as you can. Give them chances to exit the information dump, in case they’re being polite instead of interested. (This will save you both time). And always be courteous to people’s time. They’re there to meet lots of people, too.

After the Show

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First and foremost, reconnect with your family and loved ones. Give them attention, and try not to lead off by talking about all the crazy things that happened to you. Ask your spouse (who cared for your kids while you were gone) or your boyfriend or whoever details about THEIR experience while you were gone. Listen to them. Ask questions. Give them a chance to feel at the heart of your attention. (This is the best advice I can give you for your relationship with regards to travel).

I’ve already covered this before, but to recap, make sure you send a brief email to every business card you received at the event –Remember: it’s YOUR job to GET cards, not give yours out. That’s a bonus– with tidbits of specific things you and the other person talked about at the event. Do this as quickly as possible. Keep the contact fresh. This will reinforce the person’s memory of you at the event, and promote a better feeling about what you and the other person might do in the near term.

Reset your toiletries. These are the things that eat up annoying time when you’re ready to travel next, because you forgot to bring them.

Your Tips and Add-Ons

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You know me. I love to end these things looking for your feedback. I love adding to the conversation. If you do it here, great. If you do it on your site, send a trackback. But let’s keep the conversation going. I bet someone could even take the first few lists and upload them into our wiki and build even more around them. But let’s keep the conversation going. Okay?

— Chris Brogan keeps a blog at [chrisbrogan.com]. He’s just joined pulvermedia as a Community Developer for Video On the Net, a conference about the future of tv and movies delivered over the net.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnancy in life, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help.

Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

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1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths.

Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation.

What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem.

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If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave.

Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future.

These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

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4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’re 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward.

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Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years.

On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

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Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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