The Conference Experience: Making the Most of Your Time in Austin

With Congress of Cities around the corner, you’ll want to start thinking about getting the most out of your conference experience. Here are a few tips to maximize your four days in Austin:

When you arrive, take a walk around the convention center to get your bearings. And, in your spare time, take a walk Capturearound the block. The conference center is in downtown Austin, and you’ll renew your energy while getting to know the neighborhood.

Join the conversation, and tweet using #NLCATX. Participate in the energy leading up to CoC, and do some pre-event networking! While you’re at the conference, tweet your favorite quotes and insights from each session you attend, as well as photos from your time in Austin. Follow @NLCEvents for updates!

Carry extra business cards with you at all times during the conference. When you get business cards from people you meet, write down an actionable note on the back, such as “Introduce to Jane” or “Invite for lunch next month when he’s in town.”

Set a goal to meet a certain number of people a day. Keep track of who is in your session so you’ll have an easy conversation starter during networking events. How often do you get to talk with city leaders from all over the country? Take advantage of having so many of your colleagues under one roof!

To meet more like-minded people, find a social event. Chances are, your state league will have a reception. (Contact your state league for information and invitation). You can also check out the constituency groups and partisan organization to find people with similar backgrounds and passions.

aus2Take productive notes. At the end of each presentation or workshop, think about one key takeaway—a piece of advice that resonated with you, a story that you could adapt for your own community, or some new information that you want to share with your peers back home. Consider downloading a note-taking app to help you keep all your thoughts in one place on your phone.

Take time to look at the exhibitor list in your program book. Although you’re likely to stumble upon some great new services or products you didn’t anticipate, it will be helpful to go into the Exposition Hall knowing which vendors are especially relevant to your community’s needs.

Don’t miss the Closing Celebration. Once the workshops are over, we’ll head to the beautiful LBJ Library for a fun night of great food, live music, and even dancing on the lawn. Get to know the extraordinary city of Austin and your fellow conference attendees as we wrap of Congress of Cities 2014 with Austin’s best BBQ and beverages. Don’t miss this chance to hear some exceptional music and enjoy the company of the nation’s city leaders before returning to your home city with a ton of new ideas from CoC.

LBJ Library

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