Welcome to your first NAWIC Annual Conference (AC)! The NAWIC AC can bring you personal and professional renewal. Seize the opportunities your conference offers, and it will bring you tremendous benefits long after you return home. The following tips will help you make the most out of your conference experience.
Once you receive your registration packet, take the time to go through it. It contains valuable information, which will help to make your first conference more enjoyable. Read through the conference program. The program will tell you where you need to be and when you need to be there. Use a highlighter to mark those events that are mandatory and the optional events you want to attend. This will help you to know, at a glance, when and where you need to be and when you have free time.
Familiarize yourself with the layout of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. It only takes a few minutes to make a dry run of the meeting rooms, locate the restaurants, and gift shop. Having a general knowledge of where everything is located will save you time later.
Badges must be worn for admittance to all General Sessions, Workshops and Seminars. It is your ticket to meal functions, except for the Friday night Awards Gala. It is helpful for others to be able to recall your name. Make sure you wear your badge where it can be seen. The more you're noticed, the more opportunities you'll have for interaction with other members. (Keep in mind that, even though you don’t need your badge for the Awards Gala, you will still need your Awards Gala ticket.)
Conference Ribbons are color coded according to category. You will have a blue ribbon, which designates you as a “First Timer." Attach this ribbon to your name badge.
Remember, NAWIC membership pins are worn on the left side. No other pin or accessory should be worn over your NAWIC pin. Pins should be placed directly on clothing, not placed on ribbons or patches, which are then affixed to clothing.
Most functions have open seating. When attending meal functions, go outside your comfort zone and choose a table with members you don’t already know. This is a great way to network and make new friends.
There is assigned seating for the NAWIC Awards Gala on Friday. Please read the Awards Gala Ticket Exchange procedures and posted on the conference website. You will receive a voucher for the Gala. Be sure to turn your voucher in to your Region Coordinator for an assigned seat at the Awards Gala.
If you have dietary restrictions, hopefully you noted those on your registration form. If you did not, please contact our Conference Director, Debbie Draper, CCM, via email (email@example.com) prior to the AC or go to the Registration Desk at the conference. Depending on your request, it may still be possible to arrange a special meal for you. A limited supply of special meals will be available, so please take care of this in advance if at all possible.
Bring a sweater or jacket to workshops and meetings. Most Conference workshops are held in “climate-controlled” rooms, which are occasionally too warm or too chilly. With a sweater, you can dress to match your personal comfort level.
Bring an ample supply of business cards. You never know when you'll have the opportunity to discuss a business deal, acquire information from an acquaintance, or set up post-conference business.
Support the NAWIC Education Foundation. Stop by the NEF Information Desk in The Construction Zone to see the many items available to members and to learn more about the Foundation.
Make a special effort to thank and network with the conference sponsors. These organizations enable NAWIC to keep conference costs reasonable, and they have made an investment of resources to be able to meet and network with as many of our members as possible. You never know when a contact you’ve made will provide future benefits to your career.
Seek out the officers and directors. Your national board wants to meet you and hear your opinions on what works and what you need at future conferences. You may be a future leader of NAWIC, and we want to identify you and help you build your Association career as well as your business resume. Check out the Professional Seminars and Workshops on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You’ll pick up information that applies not only to NAWIC, but also in many other areas of your professional and personal life.
Be sure to download the NAWIC Mobile App for your Smartphone before coming to Atlanta. If you have any issues downloading someone at Registration will help you when you arrive to pick up materials. The Mobile App contains a lot of helpful information that you will need throughout the Conference.
Take advantage of the Conference Services. The conference website is always available at http://www.nawic.org/nawic/Annual_Conference.asp. It has schedules, maps, transportation services, seminar handouts, and helpful links for your stay in Atlanta. It’s also mobile friendly! As well, a conference bulletin board and photographer’s desk are located in the registration area throughout the week. Also, be sure and visit the NAWIC Store during AC. The Store will be open from Wednesday through Friday. Stop by and see what new NAWIC item that are available.
While you are in the area, stop by the On-site Registration Desk to see what Conference promotional items are available for sale. Take home some items to the members of your chapter who did not get to attend the Conference this year. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness and NAWIC will appreciate your support of the Conference.
If you are unsure of anything at all – ASK! NAWIC Staff will be on hand in the registration area at those times designated in your program. They will be easily identifiable and they will be able to answer most of your questions about the conference itself and can certainly find the answer if they are not immediately able to provide the information you need.
Share your knowledge and insights with others. Before you leave for home, make a list of key insights you've gained and share them with colleagues back in the office. You'll receive an even greater return on the time and money you invested in the conference, and you'll build goodwill among your colleagues.
Most of all ... Smile, Learn, and HAVE A GREAT TIME!