Things that First-Timers Should Do at the IABC Conference

June 22 2007

Countdown to IABC Conference: T-Minus 1 Day

Mike Sorohan

If this is your first time at an IABC Conference—especially at an IABC Conference in New Orleans, there are certain things you should know and do. Here is a list of helpful hints for first-timers:

Don’t Be Shy. You are among fellow communicators who are (let’s face it) a breed apart. Ned and I are among the normal ones, believe it or not. Don’t spend the conference in your hotel room. Let your inner extrovert come out. Bring business cards. Introduce yourself. Volunteer. Heck, you’re paying $300-plus a year for membership in IABC and a $800-plus for this conference (and that’s just the registration)—you might as well get your money’s worth.

Attend Sessions. This isn’t a vacation. Justify your existence and justify the cost of this conference. Attend sessions that interest you (and even a few that might not). You’ll get some great ideas to take back to your workplace. And write up a summary of what you attended for your boss, so you can go back again next year.

Network. The IABC Conference is a great place to meet people, to commiserate, to bounce ideas off of, to think of that next career step. It’s like being at JOTW in person…only not.

Get Involved. Your chapter needs you; your region needs you; IABC needs you. And we all know that you don’t have time, blah blah blah. Attend your regional hospitality event—you’ll meet fellow communicators from your area who share common goals and experiences. There’s something that you can do to enrich yourself and the organization, so raise your hand. And if you can’t do something, say “no.” We know what that means. (Hmm, maybe Ned doesn’t…)

Look into Accreditation. Becoming an Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) takes your communication skills and expertise to a new level. It’s like getting a master’s degree without having to write a thesis on “Juxtabranchial Organ Secretions in the Higher Mollusks.” Talk to Ned about it. He’ll have you filling out the application in minutes.

Meet Someone From a Different Country. Communication is global; so are IABC members. Expand your world by seeking out the hundreds of non-U.S. communicators at the conference and learn something new. Better yet—exchange business cards and arrange a house-swap for next summer. And yes, Canada counts as a different country.

Have Fun! There’s a reason why the IABC Conference is taking place in a city where you don’t work or live. It’s a chance to break habits, change the scenery, take a fresh look at things. I’m talking about more than your job—I’m talking about your life. Take advantage of this break and enjoy yourself. And don’t forget to get a beignet at Café du Monde.

And if you can’t get away, then live vicariously through Ned and me as we blog from New Orleans.

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