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 2017. 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.
I've been working with the FOTO Team on this year's conference app. At first glance, it felt overwhelming because it had so much more in it than any conference app I have used in the past. 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.
Add an attendee as a contact. You can do this before the conference or as you meet attendees.
Message attendees: Plan dinners or plan time to discuss a topic of mutual interest.
3. Review the Agenda
Plan ahead to know what sessions interest you.
Add sessions to your schedule.
Download session handouts.
4. Interact During the Session
Check into sessions.
Share photos and your thoughts directly within the app.
Take notes within the app.
Rate sessions within the app.
5. Remember the Important Parts of the Conference
Upload contact information of the attendees you met into your email contact list.
Send your conference notes to yourself.
Stay in touch with those you made a real connection.
The FOTO's Outcomes Conference is now 1 week away. It's not too late to register. For those of you who have registered, definitely download the app. After you download it, search for "FOTO." You do need a special confirmation code. That code was sent in an email to you. If you are unable to find the email, you can click on a button for the information to be sent to you via the app. I've created a quick guide that will more specifically help you maximize the use of FOTO's Outcomes Conference app. The guide suggests what to do in the app prior to the conference, how to use the app during the conference, and how to use the app after the conference.