Thursday, June 23, 2011

Conference Tips and Tidbits

Yep, my life has been taken over by preparations for RWA. I'm so not ready. But I thought I'd take a few minutes to pass along some of the tips and tricks that I've gleaned from several years of conference trips.

Comfy Shoes - Yes, I realize this probably seems counter intuitive - especially if you glance at the shoes that will adorn my feet at conference. I don't necessarily advocate comfy shoes all the time, but you definitely need to take a pair with you just in case. PC learned this lesson the hard way when she injured her knee one year and hadn't thought to bring anything flat. I have several pair of five inch heels in my bag, but I also have some flip flops and flat dress shoes in case there's a day where my vanity just can't trump the pain.

First Aide, Band-Aide Stick and Gel Shoe Pads - You can never have too many band-aides or blister pads. I also highly recommend investing in this little stick that Band-Aide makes that you rub on your heels so your shoes don't give you blisters. I've found it also works wonders at preventing chaffing on your thighs if you happen to have a pair of short shorts and are heading out into a steamy New York day. Ditto for those gel pads that go in the ball of your shoe. They can make the difference between sheer torture and looking effortlessly fabulous.

Nap - No, I'm not kidding. I realize that we're not in kindergarten, but conference tends to involve late nights followed by early mornings. If you run non-stop you will hit a wall the last day. Your brain will stop absorbing information and you will become useless. A bad situation if you have a pitch or workshop presentation ahead of you.

Don't Forget the Bar - Even if you're not a drinker, the bar has many functions. Not only is a great (usually centrally located) meeting place, but inevitably you will run into someone you've always wanted to meet. Networking is one of the most important functions you'll do at conference and the bar is a great place to get pulled into a conversation only to discover that your dream editor is sitting across the table from you sipping a drink and sharing stories about her dog.

Those are my top conference tips. Anyone else have others they'd like to share?

And I'd like to take this time to shamelessly plug my workshop with Smarty Pants, Rhonda Nelson and Vicki Lewis Thompson scheduled for 4:30 on Thursday. If you come well give you the secret handshake...and if SP's efforts at organizing us have worked we might also talk about Voice.


P.S. robertsonreads is the winner from yesterday's blog. Please email your name and address to Playground Monitor to claim your prize.


Cheryl said...

One thing about living in New York which I learned, be sure to have plenty of DOLLAR bills for tips. Everyone has their hand out even if they open a door for you (LOL). Only having twenties and tens or even fives in your wallet can hurt if you have to give a tip.

I wish you, Rhonda, SP and Vicki the best of luck on your workshop! I know all of you will do GREAT!

Maven Linda said...

Ditto, Cheryl! I've already been to the bank, and have 60 one dollar bills all ready to grease the skids -- plus some fives for the guys who wrestle my luggage. That always deserves more than the usual dollar per bag.

And don't forget to tip Housekeeping every day, not once at the end of the trip. The weekend crew is usually different from the people who have been taking care of you all week.

The verification word is "amblen." I am NOT amblen, I'm moving as fast as I can!

Linda Winstead Jones said...

Ditto on the comfy shoes, and the nap! At the very least, a few quiet minutes to put your feet up and relax. It's so easy to burn out at conference, and when it's in NY it's doubly easy. Y'all might disown me as an HOD member, this year. All my shoes are comfy. But they're Cole Haan, which should count for something. :-)

Playground Monitor said...

I, the Queen of Comfy Shoes, will never disown anyone for wearing comfortable shoes. Cole Haan makes some nice ones!

Drink lots of water. Hotel A/C can dehydrate you and leave you more susceptible to germs. Dehydration can also cause headaches.

Use hand sanitizer to ward off said germs.

Carry a bottle of over-the-counter pain reliever with you everywhere. You'll have it if a headache sneaks up on you, and you can make a friend for life by offering it to the person in line next to you who's complaining about a headache.

Pack a sweater or wrap. Hotel meeting rooms are usually cold. I take along a black pashmina I can wrap around my shoulders to stay warm. It folds up nice and small. I usually have it in my carry-on to use on the plane too. It can double as a pillow if needed.

Wish I was going with y'all this year. Next year in Anaheim!

Problem Child said...

I packed my yoga-toes. I take a few minutes each night to rub some peppermint lotion on, put on the yoga toes, and relax some. It helps. :-)

Still need to go to the bank...

Gail Barrett said...

Shana, I would love to attend your workshop, and in fact, I circled it as one to attend, but it turns out that it's at the same time as the finalist reception:( I will have to settle for listening to the recorded version later. Hopefully I'll still get to do the secret handshake if we meet in the elevator.

Your tips are all great. You're right about the shoes. And definitely bring a sweater. Those air conditioned rooms get cold!!!

robertsonreads said...

What wonderful tips ladies. I will jot these down to keep handy when I plan my trip to see my son in NC later this year. As I very seldom travel, these will be a huge help.

Thanks for the novel from Cat, I did a happy dance...yeah!

Smarty Pants said...

I always forget to tip housekeeping. I guess I've spent more nights of my childhood in a Motel 6 than a Marriott. Must remember.

I'm having a hard time thinking of tips that haven't already been said.

Keep snacks in your room. No breakfast this year and I'm sure NY prices for snacks in the giftshop is insane.

If you have an iPhone (I don't know about Androids or BBs) download the NYCWAY app. Its got subway maps, food, pharmacies, show and museum info... everything in one app. And its free.

Bring your own bag or briefcase to carry around. Everyone has the conference bag and you don't want someone walking off with your stuff on accident.