So you’re attending ASAE’s Annual Meeting & Exposition for the first time, huh? Well yay! That’s SO exciting. Get ready to learn and network like never before!

If you’re nervous about the show – don’t be! You’re going to have a blast. But to help you maximize your conference experience, particularly as a newbie, here are a few tips:

1. Scope out social media

Social media is going to be a great starting point for ASAE Annual first-timers. Not only can you see who’s going to the show beforehand and keep up with what’s going on during the show, but if you have any questions while you’re at the conference, you can tweet them out and quickly get a response. Just follow the conference Twitter account (@ASAEannual) and include the hashtags #ASAE17 and #newbie for assistance.

2. Check out the Hive

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could meet up with other ASAE Annual first-timers? Well you can at the Hive, located on the Level 600 Concourse of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. What is the Hive, you ask? Well it’s an area designated FOR ASAE Annual “new-bees” (get it?!). Here, you can meet ASAE staff members and volunteers who can answer your questions and help you make the most of your first ASAE Annual experience.

But check this out: ASAE understands that conference centers can be overwhelming (even for the veterans), so they’re actually offering tours from the Hive on Saturday, August 12. This is a great opportunity to get a lay of the land AND meet a few new friends!

Tour times are as follows:

  • Tour 1: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Tour 2: 3 – 4 p.m.

3. Keep an eye out for other first-timers

The Hive isn’t the only place you can meet other first-timers. You can meet them throughout the conference as well. Just keep an eye out for new-bee stickers (cute little cartoon bees) on attendees’ badges. And not only that, but keep an eye out for “First Timer” ribbons as well (and don’t forget to pick one up for yourself in the registration area!).

4. Pack wisely

Last but not least, there’s packing, which can sometimes be difficult for first-time attendees. What exactly do you need? What items can you absolutely NOT afford to leave out? Here’s a little guideline:

  • Business cards – This one’s a must! You can’t just pick these up at the store if you forget them. Make sure you have plenty and double TRIPLE check.
  • Comfortable walking shoes – You’ll do a ton of walking at the show – both during the day and at night. Dress comfortably!
  • A light sweater or jacket – Those conference rooms are chilly – trust us. Have a sweater or jacket on hand, just in case.
  • Chargers – Whatever gadgets you’re bringing (phone, computer, iPad, etc.), make sure you have corresponding chargers. You’ll need that juice, especially for four days! (But note: If you do forget yours, just swing by the Small Staff Lounge in Room 707 for charging stations!)
  • A list of sessions you’d like to attend – Don’t go into this blind! Make a list of all the sessions you’d like to attend, and even if you do it in the app, make sure to have a written copy as well (just in case your device dies – see bullet point #4 – or the wifi’s temporarily glitchy).

Want more tips for maximizing your ASAE Annual experience? Check out our 2017 Conference Survival Guide below!

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the show!