2007.  That’s when it all started.  At a smokey Palace Station Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  I was a relative unknown, but organizers James Alburger and Penny Abshire took a chance on me as host, and here we are again 5 years later.

2008 and 2010 in Los Angeles, and now 2012 at Disneyland.  VOICE2012 should be the refined and well-organized event you’d expect after “practicing” 3 times before.  BTW, there’s still time to sign-up…even for day passes or exhibit passes.  From what we understand about 400 have already committed to the event.

The venue is big…distractions next-door are many…traffic and activity will be heavy…and the schedule is full.  A person could get overwhelmed.

Having been around for all the previous events, I have a unique perspective how to make the most of your time and investment for this event.  I’m not saying I know it all, but here are 7 ironclad tips I’ve found to survive and thrive at VOICE2012.

1)  You can’t do it all.  There’s just too much going on.  You will NOT be able to have 400 meaningful conversations with everyone there.  So…focus.  Decide before you even arrive what your goals are, who you want to see, and which presentations to attend.  You might change your mind, but at least have a plan.

2) Make notes to yourself.  Use your pen ‘n’ paper, or your smartphone, or your tablet computer. Do it as you go, or at the end of the day.  Stop and write it down, or make a mental note, but put it down somewhere or you’ll likely forget.  There is just too much going on, and you might forget.  Jot it down.  A name, a thought, a to-do list, or a must-do idea.

3)  Give business cards, accept business cards.  This will help with #2 above, and yes, paper business cards are still a very acceptable way to network.  Write on the back of them if you can…any notes to yourself.  This is a great way to see how people are branding themselves, too.

4) Go to the after-hours stuff.  Like any other conference, the casual conversations in the hallways and on the barstools sometimes reveal the REAL answers to your most pressing questions.  Gather ’round where people are talking and politely listen-in if nothing else.  You’ll learn a ton.

5) Introduce yourself.  Certainly do so to people you hope to talk to or to get on their radar…but also introduce yourself to perfect strangers attending the conference.   You might be surprised what they know or who they know that you NEED to know.  And it’s a great way to make new friends.

6)  Feel free to move between presentations.  Better to pick-up and move out of a seminar you thought had more to offer you, and pick up half-way through a more meaningful seminar, than to sit, bored, in the same seminar the whole allotted time.  Luckily you will not have to worry about that with the presentation I’m giving with Terry Daniel and Trish Basanyi on Social Media for VO’s. (ahem!).

7) Ask questions.  The staff and organizers at VOICE2012 want you to have a great experience.  Voice over people are generally the most helpful and encouraging folks you’ll ever run across.  No one will think any less of you.  There are  no dumb questions…just the ones you DON’T ask.

Honorable mention:  Take lots of pics.  Ask people to pose with you.  Takes pics of pairs and threesomes.  Take pics of strangers.  It’ll help you remember stuff about the event.

There.  That’s it.  I could go on and on with other suggestions, but that covers 98% of it.  Do all the above, and you will have a successful conference.  Also remember to send an email or snail-mail later (give it a couple of weeks), to say “thanks” or “great to meet you”, or to follow-up with your contact information to those with whom you want to develop a further relationship.  It works.

See ya there!

CourVO

 

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