Tips for a Successful WCQI 2012

Like many of you, I’m getting my last minute details finalized for the upcoming WCQI and ASQ Member leader training. I’ve got a myriad of room names, conference sessions and things to pack running amuck in my brain. It seems like every year, my schedule gets busier and I get more absentminded. So here are my tips for a successful world conference. Hopefully one or two might help you!

1. Bring those business cards and remember to distribute them!
While there was a big trend last year of using QR codes, I still think that people love old fashioned business cards. There’s nothing worse than meeting someone and realizing that after they’ve left you forgot to exchange business cards. Meeting so many people in the span of a few jam packed days means that you will forget names (usually by the time you’re boarding the flight home).

2. Follow the trend (Social Networking)
This year, ASQ has decided to heavily promote social networking at the conference. Be sure to tweet using the hashtag #WCQI12. Attend one of the three social networking meetups that ASQ is offering as a way to get to know others who are just as passionate about quality as you are.

Visit the the Conference Voices sign in the ASQ Center (exhibit hall)
Sunday, May 20th 6:30pm – 7:30 pm
Monday, May 21st 10am – 11am
Tuesday, May 22nd 2pm – 3pm

3. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize
With more than 100 sessions and four other concurrent conferences, the number of available sessions can be overwhelming. Downtime at the airport or on the airplane is a perfect time to take one final look at the conference schedule and determine what sessions will provide you the most value. If you are on the fence, google the speaker and find out a little bit more about their experience and background as it relates to the topic. Have a game plan before you go into the conference, but realize that you may swap out sessions once you have a chance to meet a speaker in person or get a recommendation from another conference attendee.

4. Networking shouldn’t be work
While one of your goals may be to expand your network, don’t make it a stressful experience. Not everyone is comfortable introducing themselves to strangers. Here are some low stress openers

So what’s been your favorite session so far?
What did you think of the keynote?
So who has the best giveaways this year at their booth?

Making small talk is a great way to lead to deeper connections. Set a goal for meeting “x” number of new connections, whether it’s through some of the evening networking opportunities or in those minutes before or after a session.

5. Do find time for R&R
Whether it’s some shopping at Downtown Disney, riding Space Mountain for the umpteenth time or dipping your feet in the pool – you don’t want to come home without enjoying a bit of what California has to offer. So many times we go to conferences, and spend our free time buried in our blackberry or on the laptop. If you must work, set a time limit! Then set another time limit for your R&R. Believe me, you will thank me later!

So what are your tips? Leave them in the comments.

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