To be honest, I found my first ILTA Conference a little overwhelming and wished I had been given more advice about how to take advantage of what was offered without crashing and burning. My solution was to do as much as I could and sleep as little as I could, but I acknowledge that this was not the most responsible or healthy choice.
In the interest of offering a more balanced approach, I asked other ILTA Conference veterans for tips on how to survive ILTA. Here’s what they told me [with my editorial comments included in square brackets]:
**Bill Kyrouz: Map out your entire schedule -now- and have at least one backup class in case you quickly realize your 1st choice wasn’t right. [via twitter]
**John Alber: Take a look at the session descriptions to get a better sense of what the panelists are planning to discuss.
**Paul Wittekind: Plan your schedule the night before. [VMA: The sessions are too good to miss because of lack of planning.]
**Jeff Ward: Choose multiple sessions for each time slot. You may get to one session and discover it isn’t exactly what you thought it would be about. [VMA: Or, you may discover that the room is full and fire marshall regulations prevent your entering the room.]
**Shawn Knight: Be sure to attend the Conference Orientation on Sunday at 6pm in Juniper 1. This session is not just for newbies — there will be information for everyone.
**David Hobbie: No matter your challenge, someone else @ #ilta is or has been facing it too. Meet people, ask Qs, and you’ll find him or her! [via twitter]
**John Alber: Don’t stay up too late! Conference is intense; you’ll need your sleep. [VMA: I wish he had told me this last year!]
**Julia Montgomery: Make sure you have business cards with you at all times. You’ll need more than you expect to use.
**Sean Luman: If you have any questions ask someone with a colored ribbon on their name tag. They’ll be happy to help.
**Julia Montgomery: Talk to as many people as possible. It will increase the value of your conference experience exponentially.
** David Hill: Volunteer for something — even something small — at conference. You’ll learn lots and will make connections with others.
**Browning Marean: Nothing good happens after 8:00pm!
**Michele Grossmeyer: (1) Take advantage of the resources you have around you — don’t be afraid to ask anyone around you any questions. The people here are friendly and happy to help. (2) Attend sessions, attend sessions, attend sessions. (3) If a session is not quite the right fit for you, don’t be afraid to move to another session as soon as you realize it. Time is too short at conference so make good use of it! [VMA: Michele co-chaired the last two ILTA conferences so she lots of experience and wisdom to share.]
**Honora Wade & Corby Guenther: (1) Orient yourself early. Walk round on Sunday to figure out where the main sessions and breakout sessions are. This will allow you to move between sessions efficiently. (2) Be comfortable! This means wear comfortable shoes — there’s a ton of walking. Bring a sweater or light jacket — the rooms tend to chilly and the temperature can vary from room to room. Hydrate, hydrate, HYDRATE!
**Skip Lohmeyer: (1) Get enough sleep so you don’t fall asleep in sessions. (2) Read session and speaker descriptions before you go to a session. This will give you a better sense of what to expect. (3) And don’t hesitate to ask questions of the folks wearing “Welcome to ILTA 2010” buttons.
Carlos Rodriguez: The ILTA website has interviews with conference leadership and those articles contain more useful tips.
What advice do you have for conference attendees?