How to Get the Most Out of AM&P’s Annual Meeting

It’s time for AM&P’s Annual Meeting!

As a self-proclaimed conference junkie and longtime Association Media & Publishing (AM&P) member, I want to share a few things I’ve learned about what works when it comes to networking and professional development.

Here are 6 tips to get the most out of your AM&P conference this week:

    1. Follow the hashtag: #AMPAnnual18

AM&P’s meeting hashtag formula is different from previous years. This year follow #AMPAnnual18 to follow the conversation. I often follow other attendees’ live tweets from sessions I’m not in, allowing me to learn from multiple concurrent sessions. At most conferences, AM&P included, there’s practically a second conference going on on Twitter, with attendees having side conversations, discussing a session and making plans to meet up. A conference is the ideal time to embrace Twitter. (And bring a battery charger for your phone!)

    2. Develop questions for exhibitors. Conference attendees gather together in a large crowd, talking between one another.

Before you head for the exhibit hall, take 5 minutes to brainstorm what challenges or questions you have about your job responsibilities. Make a list of questions to ask exhibitors. These experts can offer you free advice on-site to help you solve your challenges. For example, are you under pressure to cut costs? Talk to printers about ways you can save money without reducing the number of magazine issues.

    3. “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.”

I mean this metaphorically: Besides going to sessions that will provide you concrete tips to help you in your current position, reach toward the next job you want. Ask yourself what your future career looks like. Maybe you’re a writer who wants to become a magazine editor or a marketing manager who envisions becoming a director of communications. Go to sessions that focus on association strategy and the big picture and think more broadly. Plus, you might learn something you can use to impress your current boss!

   4. Bring and collect lots of business cards.

D.C. is a business card town, so it’s commonplace here to hand out your business card. After you receive one from someone, write something on it that helps you remember the person: what they looked like or what you talked about. Later this week, connect with everyone you met on LinkedIn. And for those you really want to connect with, send them a short email to let them know you’re glad you met. Remind them briefly what you talked about so they can connect your name with a face. Consider adding a “call to action,” asking them if you can continue your conversation over coffee or via a 15-minute phone call. Please don’t ask to “pick their brain.” Instead, have specific questions and a focus in mind.

    5. Get on the app.

AM&P’s conference app allows you to choose the sessions you want to attend and create your own schedule to easily glance at, rather than constantly opening the conference program. The app also lets you quickly browse the list of sponsors, exhibitors and attendees you might want to connect with. For specific instructions on getting on the AM&P app, read the AM&P Annual Meeting Attendee Update.

    6. Stay for the receptions.

I used to say that I hated networking because I always pictured awkward mingling during cocktail receptions. I was quite surprised to learn a few years ago that extroverts dislike these types of awkward events too (as a bunch of them told me during a roundtable event about networking). However, receptions are truly where you make friends and work connections. Prepare for each reception by coming up with 1–3 fun questions. Don’t be too silly or random—Ask someone what brought them to the conference or what their favorite session has been so far. Challenge yourself to introduce yourself to someone standing alone, using your prepared questions to get the conversation flowing. Trust me, your new friend will be thankful you broke the ice.

I hope you embrace at least a few of these tips and make the most of your AM&P conference. Please stop by the MelEdits booth to chat writing and editing—or try out your icebreaker questions on me.

Drop off your business card at the MelEdits booth and you’ll have a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

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