First, repeat this to yourself over an over again: "You can not possibly do it ALL."
Now that we've got that out of the way, here is the rest!
- Bring your most comfortable walking shoes. The MGM is *huge*.
- Bring another pair of shoes in case you you need to switch them up.
- You'll be indoors most of the time, and they keep the temperature pretty even in most places, so if you're cold natured, bring a sweater or something easy to carry around to put on when you need it.
- Bring a lot of business cards to swap with people you meet.
- Notebooks, pens, ready to take notes.
- If you can't afford a full registration, there is a LOT to be learned on the tradeshow floor. Different booths have speakers presenting all the time.
- Go to the grocery store, or even hit up the Walgreens down the strip from the MGM, for snacks to keep in your room.
- MGM has more room specials in effect - keep an eye on Twitter for people posting room specials.
- Heavy iPhone user? Bring your charger with you during the day. Your phone won't hold a charge long enough with you texting your friends about meeting up with them. (Mine never does, and I have all the battery saving features turned on.)
- Wondering what to wear? Dress ranges from business-like clothes to jeans to whatever. It is a conference with your peers, so wear what makes you comfortable in that situation.
- If you're tired, go to your room and take a nap. It is ok. You'll miss something, but you'll be more receptive to learn more later.
Platforms / Business Institute / Plus Classes / Master Classes:
- Sometimes the descriptions are exactly what they are covering, and sometimes they aren't as accurate. Ask other people if they have heard people speak, they might be able to give you tips on who to check out.
- If you have a hard time deciding between two panels/platforms, sit near the door and if you don't like the one you chose, slip out and go to another one. You won't be the only person to do it.
- My first year in business and first year at WPPI, the Business Institute was the best money I spent. I learned SO much, and met several great friends there too.
- If there is a speaker you just *have* to see, be sure to get there extra early to get a seat. Lots of platforms closed last year when the room was full.
- I always bring a tote bag to carry around the tradeshow and put all my goodies into. Some booths will also have totes to pass out in case you need another one.
- I always pick one thing I want to be intentional in researching at the tradeshow. My first year it was getting hands on albums. Last year I was on a mission to find the canvas prints I love the most. This is a great chance to see products in person without having to order samples later. I ask if I can take photos with my iPhone so I remember what I liked. (Include a company sign so you remember where to get things!)
- There will be a LOT of tradeshow specials. B&H normally has a gear sale. Album companies offer specials. There is something at almost every booth. Set a budget before you walk in and stick to it!
- I try to bring a sack lunch to the tradeshow, or snack food, so I don't have to walk over to the food court area or stand in the long food lines (with limited options) in the convention center.
- You might want to bring a few "party" outfits if you want to dress up for the evening social events.
- There will be multiple parties every night. [b] school. Pictage. Finao. Airhorns & Lasers. David Jay. The list goes on and on. Lots more will be announced as the date gets closer.
- Meet new people. Step out of the usual.
My BIGGEST tip - again:
You can not possibly do it ALL. It is impossible. There will always be a conflict. Another speaker at the same time, another class, another dinner, another party. You just have to chose which one you want to do the most. It is ok. (This is really hard for me.)
Can't wait to see you all in Vegas for WPPI 2010!
Christine Tremoulet is a Houston, Texas Hot Mama Boudoir photographer and wants you to have a Business of Awesome. She also runs Wholly Matrimony, a destination wedding blog. She is a creative geek, having blogged since 2000 at BigPinkCookie. When she isn't taking photos or knitting, she is busy devouring all the info related to Marketing & Social Media and its powers that she can find online. Follow her on Twitter.