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 just reviewed the app for the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. The app has some features that will enhance your conference experience. Maximizing the conference experience does require just a little bit of time and completing a few pre-conference tasks. You'll want to download the app and begin getting ready now instead of waiting until the conference actually begins in order to take advantage of what the app offers.
Here are 5 ways to maximize the conference app to enhance your experience:
1. Edit Your Profile
- Complete your contact information for attendees to easily reach out to you.
- Take a chance: make your profile public. Let others easily learn about you.
- Make sure you have a profile photo of your face. Help others recognize you.
2. See Who Else is Attending
- Review the list of attendees.
- You can search for attendees by first name, last name or even by company.
- You can "meet" attendees way before you walk into conference registration by sending messages.
- 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 handouts. You can find that option WAY at the bottom of a session. Either print the handout OR follow along during the life session.
- You can easily find vendors and bookmark them as a vendor you'd like to visit. You can also add notes about that vendor.
4. Interact During the Session and Conference
- Check into sessions.
- Share photos and your thoughts directly within the app. In the social stream eventfeed, those posts stay within the conference app; the social wall is connected to your twitter account and will broadcast your photo and tweet into twitter. Remember to use #PPS2017.
- Set the app to provide you notifications. I have a feeling PPS Conference Team will keep you notified of changes or will want to reach out to you during the conference. You'll see the notifications probably within the notifications tab.
- Take notes within the app - I will assume you will need to go to the session you added to your schedule and then you can take notes within it.
- Rate sessions within the app .You will need to go to your schedule and click on that session.
- VOTE! Yes, you can vote this year via the app! Do it!
- If you need continuing education credit, the way to obtain the credit is to click on "CE Survey" and complete the evaluation. This is currently locked because none of the sessions have happened yet. You have until December 15, 2017 to complete the task without paying a late fee.
5. Remember the Important Parts of the Conference
- Upload contact information of the attendees you met into your email contact list.
- Add notes to an individual attendee.
- Add notes about a session or a vendor.
- Send your conference notes to yourself.
- Stay in touch with those you made a real connection.
This last step will not happen automatically. You will need to manually do this. I have a feeling there will be a little download icon that you click to make your notes and contacts automatically be sent or populated into your address book. Remember, the contacts will be populated into the address book you used for registration.
The Private Practice Section Annual Conference is this week. It's not too late to register. For those of you who have registered, definitely download the app. After you download it, you'll need to input your name and the email account you used for registration. You do need a special confirmation code. That code will be sent to you to your registration email account. The Private Practice Section created a short video to help you better understand the app features.
Enjoy the conference! The FOTO Team will be at booth 213. Stop by and say hi!
Until next time,