16 October, 2023
Ahhhh… IMEX America, the Olympics of all the meeting and event conferences (IMO). Where thousands of #EventProfs from all over the world come together to get business done in the 24/7 city of Las Vegas.
Walking the IMEX America Tradeshow Floor for the first time as a recent graduating student in 2012 was my ‘AH HA’ moment. This conference holds a special place in my heart because of the catalyst of confirming I indeed want a career in this corporate events world.
And after a decade of attending IMEX America as a Young Professional, Supplier Partner, Guest Speaker, Hosted Buyer, and even an IMEX Brand Ambassador, here are my 5 pieces of honest advice to really prepare for IMEX America 2023.
- What I learned…
Take care of your future self by doing the extensive research and getting organized prior to your flight. You won’t feel like a small fish in a big pond if you’re able to understand the bigger picture of the conference. Review the schedule of events ahead of time and block off your calendar so you can easily refer to it (‘it’ being the IMEX app, download it and thank me later.)
Learner for life? Smart Monday powered by MPI is a whole day of complimentary education and professional development prior to Tuesday’s official start day.
- Layers of comfort
a. Yes, bring layers of clothes because it’s hot in Las Vegas but chilly in the conference center.
b. Yes, bring business attire and comfortable walking shoes that reflects your personality (easy conversation starter.)
c. Yes, bring a reusable bag dedicated to putting all your new branded tchotchkes that you’ll be gifted.
d. Yes, bring that sustainable water bottle to stay on top of your hydration game.
e. Yes, bring all your favorite snacks because ‘nobody’s got time’ to be hangry (hungry & angry) plus, sharing is caring.
- Social battery > Battery charger
While you ensure your phone is on full battery mode to capture the moments, don’t forget to also charge your social battery. IMEX America is a marathon not a sprint and there are plenty of ways to engage whether you’re an introvert, ambivert, or extrovert. So, incorporate that morning meditation to ground yourself, follow hashtags and accounts like #IMEX23 or @IMEX_Group to stay in the know, and accept that you can’t be everywhere all at once so choose wisely on how you want to spend your energy! (It’s okay to have an early night in so you’re up for the 7:00am IMEXrun.)
- You better (net)work, work, work!
It’s the face-to-face interactions with new connections and heart-felt reunions of industry colleagues for me.
It’s the conscious selection of which experiences to attend, planned by professionals in our field for professionals in our field for me.
It’s the chaotic non-stop, action-packed week full of educational and network opportunities for me.
So simple as #EventProfs Britney Spears would say, “You. Better. (Net)work!”
- Genuine connections
Genuine connections don’t just happen as you network, unfortunately. Individuals must truly be aware to authentically connect with others. It’s tough not to get FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) so my biggest advice is quality over quantity so you can be on Team JOMO (Joy of Missing Out). Remember people’s name during that first introductions, mindfully partake by being fully present in that conversation (even if it is a sales pitch), and find common interests as humans, outside of your fancy career titles. The biggest missed opportunity is not following through on the thank you’s and nice to meet you’s afterwards. From my experience, the genuine connections you make in this community will greatly add value to your CWT work life.
So overall, #IMEXcited to cheers to all that’s good about being the #MeetingProfs humans we are, and I’ll report back with the highlights as I take over the CWT Meetings & Events social for the week.
Author: Thuy Diep, Senior Meetings Planner, CWT Meetings & Events