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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 September 15, 2020

7 Helpful Reminders When You Want to Make Big Life Changes

7 Helpful Reminders When You Want to Make Big Life Changes

Overcoming fear and making life changes is hard. It’s even harder when it’s a big change—breaking up with someone you love, leaving your old job, starting your own business, or hundreds of other difficult choices.

Even if it’s obvious that making a big change will be beneficial, it can be tough. Our mind wants to stay where it’s comfortable, which means doing the same things we’ve always done[1].

We worry: how do we know if we’re making the right decision? We wish we knew more. How do we make a decision without all of the necessary information?

We feel stuck. How do we get past fear and move forward with that thing we want to do?

Well, I certainly don’t have all the answers, but here are 7 things to remember when you want to move forward and make positive life changes.

1. You’ll Never Have All the Information

We often avoid making important decisions because we want more information before we make a tough call.

Yes, it’s certainly true that you need to do your research, but if you’re waiting for the crystal clear answer to come to you, then you’re going to be waiting a long time. As humans, we are curious creatures, and our need for information can be paralyzing.

Life is a series of guesses, mistakes, and revisions. Make the best decision you can at the time and continue to move forward. This also means learning to listen to and trust your intuition. Here’s how.

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2. Have the Courage to Trust Yourself

We make all sorts of excuses for not making important life changes, but the limiting belief that often underlies many of them is that we don’t trust ourselves to do the right thing.

We think that if we get into a new situation, we won’t know what to do or how to react. We’re worried that the uncharted territory of the future will be too much for us to handle.

Give yourself more credit than that.

You’ve dealt with unexpected changes before, right? And when your car got a flat tire on the way to work, how did that end up? Or when you were unexpectedly dumped?

In the end, you were fine.

Humans are amazingly adaptable, and your whole life has been helping you develop skills to face unexpected challenges.

Have enough courage to trust yourself. No matter what happens, you’ll figure out a way to make it work.

3. What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Like jealousy, most of your fears are created in your own head.

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When you actually sit down and think about the worst case scenario, you’ll realize that there are actually very few risks that you can’t recover from.

Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Once you realize the worst isn’t that bad, you’ll be ready to crush it.

When you’re preparing to make a big life change, write down all of the things you’re afraid of. Are you afraid of failing? Of looking silly? Of losing money? Of being unhappy?

Then, address each fear by writing down ways you can overcome them. For example, if you’re afraid of losing money, can you take a few months to save up a safety net?

4. It’s Just as Much About the Process as It Is About the Result

We’re so wrapped up in results when we think about major life changes. We worry that if we start out towards a big goal, then we might not make it to the finish line.

However, you’re allowed to change your mind. And failing will only help you learn what not to do next time.

Furthermore, just because you don’t reach the final goal doesn’t mean you failed. You chose the goal in the first place, but you’re allowed to alter it if you find that the goal isn’t working out the way you hoped. Failure is not a destination, and neither is success.

Enjoy the process of moving forward[2].

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5. Continue to Pursue Opportunity

If you’re on the fence about a big decision, then you might be worried about getting locked into a position that you can’t escape from.

Think about it a different way. New choices rarely limit your options.

In fact, new pursuits often open up even more opportunities. One of the best things about going after important goals with passion is that they open up chances and options that you never could have expected in the beginning.

If you pursue the interesting opportunities that arise along the path to your goal, then you can be sure that you’ll always have choices.

6. Effort Matters, So Use It

It sounds simple, but one of the big reasons we don’t make life changes is because we don’t try. And we don’t try because then it’s easy to make excuses for why we don’t get what we want.

Flunked that test? Are you stupid? “Of course I’m not stupid. I just didn’t study. I would have gotten an A if I actually studied.”

Stuck in a job you hate? Why haven’t you found a new job yet? “Well, I haven’t really tried to get a new job. I could totally ace that interview if I wanted.”

Why do we make excuses like these to ourselves? It’s because if we try and fail, then we just failed. But if we don’t try, we can chalk it up to laziness.

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Get over it. Failure happens to everyone.

And the funny thing is, if you actually try—because it’s pretty clear that most people aren’t trying—then you’ll win a lot more than you think.

7. Start With Something Manageable

You can’t climb Everest if you don’t try hiking beforehand.

Maybe applying for your dream job seems intimidating right now. What can you start with today?

Can you talk to someone who already has that position and see what they think makes them successful? Can you improve your skills so you meet one of the qualifications? Can you take a free online course to expand your resume?

Maybe you’re not quite ready for a long-term relationship, but you know you want to start dating. Could you try asking out a mutual friend? Can you go out more with friends to practice your communication skills and meet new people?

You don’t need to be a world changer today; you just need to make small life changes in your own world.

More Tips to Help You Make Life Changes

Featured photo credit: Victor Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

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