Yes, see Academic Conferences, 4 Surefire Ways to Get the Most From the Next Conference You Attend, 9 Tips to Get the Most Out of Conferences, 18 Helpful Tips for Getting the Most Out of an Industry Conference, and Prep Work: Getting Ready for a Conference.
If you don’t have one, make sure to sign up for a Twitter account before heading to Austin. About two weeks before the conference, start to follow the hashtag #NISOD2020 and begin to follow people who actively contribute and engage about the conference.
Don’t be afraid to walk up to someone you’ve seen on Twitter and introduce yourself. Remember, if they are on Twitter, they value connections and will be glad to meet you. Stay in touch and follow up. Reach out on Twitter to new friends, those speakers you saw and liked, and to people whose tweets you enjoyed.
Go to the Excellence Awards Dinner and Celebration and celebrate the extraordinary work of faculty, administrators, and staff whose service to their students, colleagues, and community deserve special recognition!
Hangout at the Charging Stations. Spoiler alert . . . people are not there to just hangout; they are there to network.
If you have to justify attending the conference when you get back home, identify three highly valuable contacts/discussions, as well as three high-potential ideas you learned. Share those with whoever has to approve your travel/professional development.
It’s really hard to come to one of these things alone for the first time. However, (a) there are others in the same situation who would appreciate some outreach and (b) you’re amongst educators. Educators are professional networkers who, generally speaking, like other people. It’s totally okay to approach a group you don’t know and ask to join their conversation.
Bring plenty of business cards! Yes, people still like to connect with a business card. Follow up with a short note or email that says, “It was great to meet you.”
Wear comfortable shoes. Your feet will hurt by the end of the day.
Download the NISOD app and choose your sessions ahead of time. Always have a backup session planned in case your first choice doesn’t meet your needs. If you need to change sessions, you’ll already know which session to go to next. Try a couple of sessions that are outside of your areas of expertise or comfort zone.
If you are going with co-workers, don’t spend all your time with them.
Stay through the Tuesday Closing General Session. Great networking and camaraderie takes place there as well. Sit with people you don’t know.
Partially adopted from The Must-Have Guide to Networking at ISTE by Holly Clark on June 24, 2014.