During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual conferences became a lifeline. Thankfully, we can now go back to in-person events, like WAPCON 2023, which will be held in person this year. To help you get back into conference mode, here are some important tips and tricks.
What to Bring and Wear
Do you remember shopping for back-to-school supplies as a child? WAPCON is like back to school for agents! You want to come prepared with the right clothes and supplies. Here are some tips:
- Wear professional but comfortable clothes. Think business casual. Since you might be walking around a lot, wear comfortable shoes. Avoid clothing that is constraining.
- Keep in mind some conferences, such as WAPCON, involve a theme. If you’re inclined to participate by wearing a costume, make sure it is tasteful and comfortable.
- Dress in layers. Even if it’s hot outside, the conference building may be chilly if the air conditioning is on high.
- Remember your devices and chargers. You’ll definitely want your phone and may want a laptop or tablet as well.
- Be prepared to take notes. Don’t rely on your memory to retain all the information you will gather. Use a tablet, laptop, voice recorder or an old-fashioned notebook and pen to take notes. (Security note: Be responsible for your items and keep them with you at all times. Use the hotspot on your phone for Wi-Fi as needed)
- Stock business cards. An in-person training conference is a fantastic opportunity to network. Bring a stack of business cards with you to stay in touch with the people you meet. If your current business cards are outdated, this is a great time to print new ones.
- Be ready to manage distractions. WAPCON 2023 delivers a significant amount of useful and informative content. Don’t allow your smartphone to distract you during sessions. Keep it set to airplane mode and put it away to help you focus.
- You may also want to throw in a water bottle, soda, breath mints, or small snacks – whatever keeps you happy and energized. Also, bring any medications you may need to manage potential distractions such as a headache or heartburn.
How to Spend Your Time
Conferences only last a couple of days, but they’re packed with valuable sessions. The following strategies will help you make the most of your time:
- Avoid missing anything by arriving early. If you’re traveling and staying at the hotel in the same building as the conference, arrive the evening before to be able to attend events from the start. Even if you live nearby, you may want to stay at the hotel to avoid missing anything. If you’re arriving that day, allow ample time to deal with traffic and parking.
- Plan your schedule in advance. Check out the conference agenda and decide which sessions to prioritize. Mark them on your schedule to ensure you won’t forget.
- Attend Keynotes. Typically, these presentations deliver value-based content key to successful business outcomes.
- Prepare questions. Some sessions will include opportunities for questions. You may also have some one-on-one opportunities to talk with experts. Write down some questions you’d like to ask ahead of time. For example, you might be confused about a new Medicare marketing rule or have questions about a carrier’s plan.
- Stay busy. Conferences can be exhausting, but they’re a great opportunity to learn everything you need to be successful – so make the most of your time and attend as many sessions as possible.
When and How to Network
Conferences aren’t just a great time to brush up on training, catch up on the latest developments, and learn best practices – they’re also a fantastic chance to network with others in your industry. Since the connections you make at a conference may pay off later, it’s important to get out there and meet people.
- Attend social events. Conferences typically include social events, such as happy hours. Don’t miss out! These are great ways to network.
- Visit the vendor booths. Many conferences have vendor booths, which give you the opportunity to meet people, network, and learn more about what’s out there in the industry.
- Start conversations. If you’re shy, striking up a conversation may take a little courage, but you just need to remember that other people are at the conference to network, too. Introduce yourself and ask them questions about themselves.
- Hand out your business card. The ideal time to hand out your business card is after you’ve already spoken a little and made a connection.
- Connect with people on social media. Using social media is an easy way to stay in touch. Find out if there’s an account or hashtag for the conference and exchange social media information with people you meet – you can even include your social media information on your business cards.
Be Respectful of Others
Poor etiquette can ruin the conference experience for everyone.
- Arrive at each session on time. People arriving late or leaving early can become a major distraction at a conference session.
- Silence your phone. The presenter has worked hard to deliver valuable information to the audience. Just as you would silence your phone at a movie theater or play, silence it at each conference session. Tell loved ones that you’ll be offline for a while.
- Be healthy and mindful of the people around you. If you are concerned about getting sick or if you have a chronic cough, please don’t hesitate to wear a mask. If you know you are sick or contagious leading up to the conference, notify the conference management team to discuss a refund prior to the event.
One More Tip
We have one more tip for you: don’t neglect to reserve your spot. Tickets can sell out fast.
WAPCON 2023 is happening just outside Scottsdale, Arizona, from September 13 to 14, 2023. This premier Medicare conference is your chance to complete carrier certifications, get essential AEP training, and learn about additional product lines to expand your business – all in one spot!
Purchase your ticket today.