Wow, it's been a hot minute since we've all met in person, no?
I am immunocompromised and as vaccinated as vaccinated can be. My doctor and I decided I can travel again, even speak at events. So, come October, I'll be out there with you all.
I had written a post about being prepared for an event (CRMUG Summit 2016 to be precise). And it is all still good advice. But now we have to add a a few more items to the list.
- We all missed in-person events, but many of us are still terrified of germs and have spent the last few years avoiding them. Please don't be the person that gets me (or other vulnerable people) sick. If you suspect you have an active contagious anything, stay home this round.
- Don't be offended when someone like me is wearing a mask, or asks your vaccination status before giving that hug (can we establish a V hand signal, like V for victory and V for vaccinated??). There are still people dying from COVID and flu. I'd rather not be one of them.
- Remember what we all loved about being in person. Talking about the cool things we've been doing. Sharing our stories from the field. Learning from each other.
- Be forgiving. We've all had an isolating couple of years. We may have lost some of our social skills, we may have gained a few pounds, many have lost loved ones.
- Be smart. Wash your hands often. See a sanitizer station- use it. Don't sneeze or cough toward others.
I'm really getting excited about seeing my community again. I really did miss you all.
- Minimize distractions back at the office. Work extra hard now to avoid the trap of trying to work AND attend the conference. If you find yourself replying to emails three times in every session you attend, you aren’t really going to get much out of the session. If you have to keep up with the folks back at work, set aside time and plan for a session to spend working in a quiet corner instead of being partially engaged in several sessions.
- To ease the stress of leaving behind people at the office that would rather be at the conference with you, get their questions to take with you. What are their burning questions or concerns? Make sure you find the answers and resources to take back with you. Share the schedule with them in advance and then set up a lunch-and-learn the week you return and share your new knowledge and skills.
- Dress for comfort. Now, I will say no jammies for sure. But also, not a suit. Good shoes are the best thing you can bring. Promise.
- Stash some good snacks in your bag. You may find yourself in a great discussion and miss a conference meal or break. So grab some granola bars, some durable candy, whatever helps you make it to the meal later on. And drink water. You will be walking more than you plan, avoid dehydration.
- Every speaker, planner, expert is approachable, so approach them. Raise your hand in the session. Wait after the talk to ask your question. Find them at lunch and sit at the same table. Go to the medics’ station. They are there to share their knowledge. So let them.
- Plan your sessions in advance, mostly. Be open to last minute choices.
- Get yourself a fresh CRM trial before you go so you can immediately try that new cool thing you learned. Ok, get at least THREE new free trials. I suggest one that is bare, one that specializes (like sales or service) and one with a solution like Field Service or Project Service in it. Different things work different ways with added customizations or data.
- Take notes. Doesn’t matter if you’re a pen and paper person (me too!), if you like to scribble on your tablet or if you type it all organized. Take notes. I promise you won’t remember it all the next day.
- There will be booze. Don’t be THAT person that acts a fool and gets everyone to pull out their cameras and you find yourself rather embarrassed.
- Make friends, make memories.