My Goals For #11NTC

GoalsLast year was my first time ever attending NTC, and in ways I felt overwhelmed and in other ways I felt like I personally missed out on a lot of opportunities. While I attempted to be prepared for the conference, I let some other things get in the way. While I need to be connected to connect with all the wonderful folks I was going to meet while at NTC, it also still meant I was connected to work. So, before getting the car filled and starting the road trip, I’ve done some research on tips for attending conferences and then knew to set goals.

First, there have already been lots of tweets with specific suggestions for #11NTC, so I’m not going to be sharing those links here. I’ve read them all and I can’t think of many that I don’t agree with (absolutely get to breakfast early!). However, there are lots of great tips available for conferences in general that you might find helpful:

This year, I’m writing out my goals, because I have to in order to make the most out of my trip to #11NTC. Some of these may apply to you (and some of them may even repeat things previously listed on my blog).

  1. Disconnect as much as possible from the office – Last year I was lacking staff, this year, I am leaving behind a huge customized database project and a new building renovation/new data center project. I could easily be dragged into those details while I’m at #11NTC. This almost derailed my entire conference experience last year to the point that I may even block my work email from my phone and strictly use my personal email and Twitter only.
  2. Talk to those sitting near me – I have to admit, I struggle with networking at times and NTC is probably more about networking than the actual sessions. I met several great people last year, some that I still have regular contact with even now. However, I should have come back with a lot more. I’m not shy in writing text, but in a room of strangers, I can tend to stay in the back (unless, I am there to be in the role of someone – so knowing that I’m speaking in two panels will help with this tendency).  This might be simply because last year was my first year. This is my second year. So I’m going to meet even more people than before.
  3. See Washington D.C. – I live what most consider a comfortable 6 hour drive from Washington D.C., but I’ll admit it – I have never been to D.C.! My parents drove thru it once on the way back from Williamsburg, Virginia but I was young and my only memory is my dad being stuck driving around a circle multiple times and not being able to get out of the circle. Clearly, I want to see something more of D.C.  One of the highlights for me last year was Saturday night, a group of us had dinner at Georgia Aquarium where I got to see a Beluga Whale and have a Manta Ray swim over my head while in the safety of a glass tunnel. I must have at least one picture of a D.C. landmark.
  4. Get Some Untraditional Exercise – I am a Weight Watcher and conferences are sometimes the worse situation for me to be in to try to stay on track. But I’m armed this year. It started with some good fortune, D.C. is in driving distances so I am able to bring along some staples to help out those late night cravings and help out in those afternoon lulls where the Ice Cream and Cookie Carts start singing to me. I’ll be bringing lots of my favorite bottled water flavors (Lifewater is among my favs!), Fibre One 90 Calorie Bars, and bananas. The other item in my arsenal against the “Three Pound Conference Gain” will be my FitBit. If I don’t have the steps in for the day, I have to force myself to do something, even if that means taking the stairs down a couple of floors. Yes, the Hilton has a gym, but seriously, I have to work in the walking another way. You won’t be seeing me in that gym.
  5. Document – Other than some pictures and post-conference posts, it might be hard to have proof that I went to #10NTC. Yes, I have an autographic copy of Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission, but is that true proof I was there? I’m going to attempt to blog while attending and I even plan on turning my camera over to others to prove that I was there. It may even be a challenge to decide what I’m going to narrow down to document – and I welcome that challenge.
  6. Make Goals about what my ‘next steps’ are for when I get home about what I learned – The office will be on my mind as I start the road trip back home. It will start to become a louder call the closer and closer I get home. If I don’t have three goals of what I want to do with what I learned while at #11NTC, I’ll fail at any follow-up. Those goals need to be established before I get into the car at the Hilton on Sunday morning.

If anyone has suggestions and tips to help make my goals easier, I’m ready to read them!


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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Making a list of goals « NTC newbie

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