Once upon a time when I attended a conference, I felt like a lone attendee. I registered ahead of time. There was no way to know who was attending. It wasn't easy to prepare for the conference to get the most out of it. A huge book of presentations was provided. It was a burden to carry along all day. Scraps of paper held various scribbled notes. Being able to connect with attendees was left to serendipity and swapping business cards.
Speed forward to 2019. Have conference planners come a long way in creating a participatory experience for attendees! Conference planners are now harnessing the power of technology by using apps that are used on mobile devices. The app design not only has details about the conference, but also immediately connects with your social media accounts, your photos, and your email accounts. The apps also have neat, built-in ways to immediately communicate with attendees about any changes in the conference OR information about the conference.
At first glance, an app feels overwhelming because it has so many features. As I worked with it, I found the app had some excellent features that will enhance the conference experience. Maximizing the conference experience does require just a little bit of time and completing a few pre-conference tasks.
Here are 5 ways to maximize a conference app to enhance your conference experience:
1. Edit Your Profile
You can "meet" attendees way before you walk into conference registration.
Complete your contact information for attendees to easily reach out to you.
Take a chance: make your profile public. Let others easily see all about you.
Make sure you have a profile photo. Help others recognize you.
2. See Who Else is Attending
Review the list of attendees. Remember, you may not find everyone attending. Some apps require attendees to make their information available to you.
Add an attendee as a contact. You can do this before the conference or as you meet attendees. You will need to add them as a friend in order to do this.
Message attendees: Plan dinners or plan time to discuss a topic of mutual interest.
Feeling overwhelmed with remembering people you meet? No worries - add notes to your app.
3. Review Programming
Plan ahead to know what sessions interest you.
Check out the "Activity Feed" button - if the session appears to be really popular, get to the room early!
Add sessions to your schedule.
Download session handouts.
4. During the Session
Take notes within the app.
Share your thoughts via social media.
5. Remember the Important Parts of the Conference
Email your conference notes to yourself.
Stay in touch with those you made a real connection.
The bonus features in the app for the Combined Sections Meeting: "Locate Me" and "Quick List." I will be a nightmare for any occupational therapist if I am ever hospitalized. I have zero directional ability. Even my darn phone can get me lost IF the route I need to take is with North in the upright position. I am hoping that this time when I get texts as to where I am, the good ol' "Locate Me" button will be perfect! AND.. the exhibit hall is massive and can be overwhelming. Bookmark the exhibitors you'd like to visit and with the wave of the magic wand, you'll have an efficient route to reach the booths.
Stop bybooth 1121to talk to the FOTO team. Rayleana, Judy, and Nikki have a few focused topics on their agenda that might interest you. Product demonstrations will of course be happening at the booth. The new topic will be how FOTO is ready to support your MIPs participation with FOTO's clinical quality data registry. I hear that you will be able to see the dashboard the development team created to help you succeed. On Thursday you have a chance to hear from Mark Werneke sharing the upcoming online educational courses. On Friday you have an opportunity to hear from Deanna Hayes about the development of a new patient reported outcome measure for regional swelling. On Saturday Daniel Deutscher will be here from Israel sharing the importance of risk adjustment and the risk you assume when your data is not appropriately risk adjusted. Mark Werneke will again be at the booth on Saturday to share how the frequency of assessment affects outcomes.