Each year #AWNewYork has a ton of tracks. And multiple sessions per track - times 5 days. Plus award shows and networking. If you’re worried it’ll be too overwhelming, this post might help. In it I’ll share some tips on how to get there, how to choose what to see and do, and how to make the most of the experience.
Take the train
Advertising Week often coincides with some UN summit or other. Which means a cab or car sharing service is NOT the way to go. Act like a real New Yorker and jump on the subway – or risk getting stuck in epic traffic.
Wear comfy shoes & layers
There’s no way around it – you’ll have to walk all over hell’s half acre. And stand in lines. So put on your cutest kicks. And don’t forget to bring a sweater or scarf for when they crank up the A/C.
Prepare yourself to be overstimulated because brilliance will be coming at you from all sides. You need to be fueled up to take it all in. The food is sparse and iffy. So bring your refillable water bottle and a few snacks. Speaking of charging, charge up your devices. And as soon as you arrive at the venue, scope out the WiFi situation and where the nearest charging stations are.
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s get to my top tip. The best way to make the most of a monster conference like #AWNewYork is to take the time to curate your experience beforehand. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a serious case of FOMO.
#AWNewYork offers an unparalleled opportunity to soak up knowledge from industry experts and meet some of the brightest minds. But you simply cannot be everywhere or meet everyone. And it’s unlikely you can go every day. I usually can’t get away for more than 2 of the 5 days.
So do your homework. Comb through the AWNY site. Create an account and save what interests you. That way you’ll have a short list to refer to when making day-of decisions about what to attend.
Find a partner in crime
Go with a colleague. But know when to stick together and when to go your separate ways. Divide and conquer the sessions so you can absorb more content. Then meet up for meals and networking events.
Get on track
Like I said, there are always a boatload of tracks to choose from. Pick a few based on your role and interests. But also push yourself to sit in on a session or two where you know the least so can learn the most. As a Copywriter/CD and Professor, anything to do with storytelling calls to me. But I also need to stay on top of all the latest data and tech trends – for my students’ sake.
If you don’t tweet it didn't happen
Many employers require you to capture the key takeaways and tweet them while you’re at the conference. But there’s a side benefit to doing so. In addition to making your boss happy, you can use your (and others’) tweets as knowledge nuggets that jog your memory when writing posts like this one.
That's it. Hope this post sheds a little light on how to do Advertising Week without losing your mind. Feel free to hit me up with any questions/comments.