When attending conferences, whether large or small, one of the best things to do is to come up with a goal and game plan. Whether you’re looking to network or gain new skills, going to an event prepared will help you make the most of your experience.
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of tips for how to make the most of your time at the BIM Workshops.
TIP #1: Carry business cards in your badge.
Bringing business cards is a must-do for any event, especially one that includes your peers, industry experts, and potential future collaborators. One of the easiest hacks to help you remember to hand your business card out is just to have a couple sitting inside your badge sleeve. There are plenty of networking opportunities in the sessions, during meals, and even in the hallways, so don’t make the blunder of forgetting your business cards!
TIP #2: Feeling lost? Your schedule is printed inside your booklet!
When you check-in for the first time at the BIM Workshops, don’t forget to look inside your conference booklet! That’s because a copy of your schedule is printed on the first page for easy access. The schedule includes the session name, room name, the time, the instructor name, whether the session qualifies for AIA learning units, and venue map—everything, we hope, you need to find your way around. Also, don’t forget that this year’s class selection process is different, so please check each event’s page to find out when class selections begin!
TIP #3: Save the link to the session handouts and presentations.
One of the best things attendees walk away with from the BIM Workshops are the session handouts and PowerPoint presentations. In an effort to be environmentally friendly, all PDFs are available for download several days prior to the event. New downloads are also available throughout the event day, in case instructors make edits to their presentations or decide to share even more supplemental information. That’s why it’s always best to save the FTP link to your browser or, at least, save the email with the link and password information.
TIP #4: Sit a different table for each meal.
Anthony Bourdain said it best: “You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together.” With breakfast, lunch, and an evening social, there are already three ready-made opportunities for you to meet new people and network. See an instructor whose session you just attended? Sit at their table and say hi. See someone in line in your same industry? Grab a dessert or two with them.
TIP #5: Prepare to take notes, lots of notes.
Make your BIM Workshops experience last by taking notes. Why? Not only will this help you retain the training, you can also combine your own notes with the session PDFs to bring that learning back to your organization. One common practice for many attendees is to take a session and break it up into several lunch-and-learn’s that they can share with their team that could not attend. Another thing to take note of? The instructor’s contact information, in case you have follow-up questions.
TIP #6: Refresh your energy at the PM break.
If you think a full day of training might be too much to handle, then here’s an insider tip: the break between the third and fourth session of the day features more than just coffee and tea. That PM break is the best time to get an energy boost with snacks that you can munch on to help you power through the last session before the Closing presentation.
TIP #7: Session hopping is allowed—just NOT for Labs.
Signed up for a session, but change your mind on the day of? No problem! Many attendees don’t know this, but session hopping is allowed at the BIM Workshops. The only exception is “hopping” into a Lab. Unfortunately, Labs are limited-seating due to the number of available computers, so session hopping is not allowed.
BIM Workshops alumni, what are your tips for BIM Workshops first-timers?