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Technology for the mind…

Conference Technology Strategies

Monday, October 8th, 2012


The American Society for Training and Developmentā€™s Chapter Leadership Conference (#ASTDALC) is less than two weeks away, and I would like to talk about a few tools and strategies for having your technology ready for the conference. Although I will be referencing a specific conference, these strategies can be used for any conference or event you are planning to attend.

Bring your mobile technology; it should be familiar to you and should be comfortable and convenient to use. In most cases your tablet and/or phone has the ability to take notes, record voice and video, and take pictures. It has the ability to access all your social media channels. ASTDALC will have WiFi available as part of the conference this year so access should be easy. Make sure you have all your chargers and connectors with you. There are several companies that sell gadget bags for the peripheral items you need. I use a simple $4.00 bank change bag with a zipper for all my items.

There will be lots of opportunities to network while at your event. Scope out places to meet that will also give you an opportunity to plug in your device for a while. At ASTDALC we will have power stations set up around the conference hall for those mid-day tech recharges you may need.

Does your conference have a mobile app? ASTDALC has an app called ASTD Events. It can be found HERE. (If there is no app, you can still do this if the event has a website with their schedule published online.) Pre-load this app as soon as possible to become familiar with it. If you are coming with a group, you can plan how your group can cover the most ground or the sessions that are of most valua to you or your group. Also be sure to pick a second choice in the event your main choice is filled when you arrive.

The next strategy involves downloading a very valuable app to your mobile device: Evernote. This app is a great tool for being organized at any event. Using your schedule from above, go into Evernote and start building a note for each of your main and secondary sessions. Add the room numbers, the title, the speaker, any speaker details such as email and twitter ID, note if the speaker will have a special twitter hashtag for their session. Put as much prep information into your note prior to attending as possible so you can just jump right into taking notes when the session starts. You won’t have to fidget with trying to capture details if you have done some pre-work.

I can’t think of a conference or event today that does not run a twitter backchannel and ASTDALC is no exception. As a matter of fact #ASTDALC is the hashtag for this event. You can also do some pre-work prepping your mobile device for the backchannel. The tool you want to use for this is going to be either TweetDeck or Hootsuite. They both work similarly and can perform this task. Set up a column in either tool for each one of the sessions you plan on attending. Some presenters will publish their session hashtag prior to the event. You can also reach out to the presenter before the event starts and ask if they will be using a session hashtag. Go ahead and set up a hashtag column for a session you want more information from; even if you can’t attend it you can still pick up tips and info from its backchannel. Keep in mind that there will be other people who are not at the conference that follow you who will be learning from your tweets.

I hope you find these conference technology strategies helpful. If you are attending ASTDALC I look forward to meeting you and learning from you. Please feel free to reply to this message and share your conference technology strategies with everyone.

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