Wedding MBA is one of our industry’s largest annual conferences featuring high-profile speakers, educational opportunities, and world-class networking. Event professionals from around the world attend to be in the presence of thought leaders and influencers and to experience the transformative energy that very few other conferences can match. Attending Wedding MBA is a great way to jumpstart your wedding business, find solutions to challenges you may be experiencing, and to learn what’s new and upcoming in our industry.
Participating is also a very real investment of your valuable time and money, so you want to do it right. Here are some tips to help you prepare for and make the most out of Wedding MBA.
Create a Plan in Advance
Read the conference program from beginning to end well in advance. Make notes about sessions you want to attend and breakouts that look interesting. While Wedding MBA registration includes all conferences events, sometimes there are meetups and gatherings that require separate RSVPs, so watch for them and be sure to add them to your calendar as well.
After you’ve reviewed the schedule, make an “ideal-world” outline that includes every session, event and activity you would attend if you could do it all. Highlight your must-sees, but also include things that would be nice to do if you can. Plan to take maximum advantage of your time and business opportunities while you’re Las Vegas – plan to rest when you get home!
Prepare for Power Networking
Check your supply of business cards in advance. Order in plenty of time to receive them before you depart if you need to restock. Update any marketing materials you might be bringing with you, as well, and check to make sure that your profiles and galleries on your website, blog and social media are all up-to-date and ready to be seen.
Wedding MBA is unique because participants have unprecedented access to big-name speakers and industry leaders. Do take advantage of this access by engaging professionally with them when natural opportunities present, but don’t be overzealous. Some speakers may be preparing for multiple presentations, experiencing jet-lag, or be overwhelmed between sessions by other attendees seeking a personal audience. Make introductions or greetings brief and sensible, and follow up after the conference to continue nurturing the connection. They will appreciate this approach over monopolizing their time at the conference far more than you can possibly imagine.
Remember that the best networking results come from what you can offer others, such as referrals, content or opportunities, versus getting everything you can from them. Don’t start a new relationship by asking to be included on a preferred vendor list, or to have your work featured in a high-profile blog or magazine. Start with what you are willing to contribute and build from there.
Be mindful of the weather in Las Vegas in November, which is generally pretty temperate during the day, and can cool off somewhat in the evenings. Consult your favorite weather site or app to get an exact read on conditions in the days approaching the conference. It’s always a good idea, when traveling, to pack layers so you can add or remove them as necessary.
Wear. Comfortable. Shoes. We shouldn’t have to say more. Pack plenty of adhesive bandages so blisters on sore feet don’t slow you down.
Also, take careful note of your itinerary. During the conference itself, most participants will dress in business casual, or business attire. If you are planning to attend any of the additional events, like those hosted by WeddingWire and The Knot, you’ll want to have something dressier on hand – something appropriate for a fun evening out. You should also pack for any other get-togethers you anticipate attending, including client meetings or appointments with colleagues.
The annual Wedding MBA conference is always an exciting time for our industry. Make it a meaningful addition to your professional development through careful planning and a commitment to the experience while you’re there. Both you and your business will be stronger as a result, and ready to take on whatever opportunities and challenges come your way.
Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE, and national vice president for WIPA.