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5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Conference

John Gilman February 4, 2013

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Lesley Baker shared these great tips for getting ready for the conference last year, and they’re just as relevant now with the Ideas to Impact Conference just 9 weeks away.  We have revised the post to include important information for this years conference.

The 2013 Ideas to Impact Conference registration is in full swing. If you’re attending the conference in Orlando in April , I’d like to provide you with some tips to maximize your conference experience. These tips are applicable to a returning attendee or a first time attendee.

Amazing things can happen at the Ideas to Impact Conference. If you pray and ask God for guidance and direction of how you allocate your time, you’ll be amazed at the outcome. I’m speaking from experience and can’t stress this particular point enough. It will affect how you use the tips listed below.

There are several classes and sessions available for every ACS Technologies client to choose from. Small churches, medium churches, large churches, organizations, schools … we’ve got you covered. At the Ideas to Impact website  you’ll find a wide variety of sessions and classes to choose from based on your church size or by products. This list will continue to be updated through mid March so check back right before you leave for the conference on the final list of sessions available.

Tip 1: Before you leave for the Ideas to Impact Conference in April, map out what sessions you’re going to attend.

How do you decide which sessions to attend? One way is to make a list of your church’s project goals or software goals and new tools you want begin to using. Next, compare that list to the session schedule. Is there a class or session being offered that will help your church in your goals? Those are the sessions/classes you want to be sure to attend.

Are you going solo or are you taking a team? If you’re going with a team and if you find yourself with an abundance of sessions the church would benefit from, consider delegating specific sessions to your teammates. Or if time allows consider attending a session or two together with your team so everyone hears the content of a particular tool or implementation session. Perhaps even consider planning team dinners together in the evening and spend that time debriefing on what you learned during the sessions and your take-away.

Tip2: Get some face to face time with the ACS Technologies team in the Resource Area.

A treasure trove that sometimes goes underutilized by conference attendees is the Resource Area, which also contains the exhibit area. You have an incredible wealth of knowledge available to you in the resource area, as it’s staffed by experienced ACS Technologies staff that are ready to meet with you face to face and sit with you to help you with your questions.

I recommend taking notes during the sessions/classes you attend, that way, if you have some additional questions about what you just learned, you can stop by the resource area. Or maybe there is a certain module or tool that you’re struggling with, you might really benefit from some face time with an ACS Technologies staff member. Perhaps you’re considering a new module or tool and you’d like more information on what it can or cannot do – that’s another great way to make use of the ACS Technologies team that is ready to help you.  Take the time to stop by the resource area. While you’re there check out the latest products ACS Technologies offers.

Tip 3: Make some new friends.

Network at breakfast, lunch and on breaks with other conference attendees. Don’t just talk to your team, you can chat with them at dinner or back at the church offices! For the introverts like me, yes that means stepping outside your comfort zone, but I promise it is worth it! Exchange contact information. Bring business cards with you.

Ask where people are from and what church they’re with. What is their position and what do they do? How long have they been with ACS Technologies? Which products do they use? You might run into people who are there to learn about ACS products, or about PDS, The City, or HeadMaster. What is their church or organization’s size? Why did they come to the conference? Is this their first time or are they a repeat attendee?

This is a great way to connect with other users and make some new friends. I can attest to this personally and tell you how God formed some great friendships out of those networking opportunities. God can do the same for you and he can also give you access to some great experience by connecting with other ACS Technologies users at the conference. You never know if the person sitting next to you at lunch has a wealth of knowledge and experience in a particular area – that could be the very thing you’re about to work on. And the only way you’ll find out is by making some new friends.

Tip 4: Get social!

Before, during, and after the conference, a fun way to get informed and connect with other conference attendees is to use social media. If you’re on Facebook, like ACS Technologies on Facebook and join the Ideas to Impact 2013 Event Page. You’ll be able to connect with other clients and you’ll get updates from the team about things to do and ways to get the most out of your trip to Orlando

If you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow ACS Technologies on Twitter @ACSTech. Get in on the conversation about the conference by following the hashtag #impact13. Find a great place to eat dinner near the Coronado Springs Resort? Tweet it with the hashtag #impact13 so that other attendees can check it out, too. Find a speaker you love and want to recommend his or her classes to other attendees? Tweet it out and use the hashtag (you can also post tips like these on the ACS Technologies Facebook page).

Tip 5: A note about Stewardship

In conclusion, I leave you with this final tip. Make the most of the church resources that are being used to send you and your team to conference. Be good stewards of God’s time and money.

I look forward to seeing you at the conference in April! Safe travels to all and may you have a great conference experience!

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