Despite doing tons of research and meeting everyone I can in the last eight months, I’m still pretty new to the association world. This will be my first ASAE annual meeting. Maybe it’s yours too! Not that you’re new too, but maybe this is the first year that it’s local to you (Atlanta represent) or that you can afford to go.
It’s a bit overwhelming. It’s going to be a frenzied 3-5 days. Allow me to share my preparations with you so that we may brace ourselves together.
1) Talk to everyone I can about it
Most of my colleagues here at MemberClicks are ASAE veterans. Since our company is hosting a party and our CEO Mark Sedgley is one of the speakers, not to mention the fact that it's in our home town, we are pretty entrenched in ASAE planning. The general consensus is, “Sarah… it’s a lot of work. BUT SO MUCH FUN!” We’re a month out, so I’m making sure my ducks are in a row for the work half (I’ll be running the @MemberClicks twitter machine) and my dog has someone to look after her while I’m out having fun!
2) Read everything I can about it
The great thing about the association world and ASAE in particular is that everyone loves to write and is very articulate. I am able to find a lot of stuff on the ASAE Annual Meeting website and through following the #ASAE13 hash tag on twitter. Also, check out this awesome guide that ASAE just posted! This is pretty much all you’ll ever need to know about what’s going on.
3) Make up my mind then set the schedule
There are so many good sessions and incredible learning labs, that it’s going to be impossible to make all the ones I want to go to in such a short amount of time. The best I can do is weigh my options and optimize my efforts! I’m filling up my calendar with my sessions, and once I have my real-life ASAE Attendance book I will mark that one too so I know where to be and when. If you’re doing what I’m doing, be sure to allow some flexibility! You never know if you sit next to someone at a session or at lunch who’s really going to inspire you, and then later it turns out you want to hear them speak.
4) Party planning committee
One of the most important pieces of the ASAE Annual Meeting Experience is the awesome parties. Besides our Small Staff Shindig that’s happening on Sunday evening, there’s the MultiView Party Your Assn Off get-together immediately following. Don’t forget the YAP (Young Association Professionals) party at CosmoLava lounge in Atlanta on Monday night at 9pm. And I know there are more out there. What parties are you looking forward to attending?
It’s going to be a busy few days, but honestly I can’t wait! I’m going into my first ASAE with some energy drinks and a lot of enthusiasm for all that information and all those connections!