The OmniUpdate crew just returned from the 2015 eduWeb Digital Summit. It was our 9th time attending the conference, and it has been wonderful to see how much the higher ed web and digital marketing field has flourished over the last decade. Each year brings new lessons, new perspectives, and new technologies. These conferences can be a bit overwhelming, so as an eduWeb veteran, I would like to share three tenets I take with me to each conference to ensure a rewarding experience and to avoid information overload.
1. Make the most out of each session.
In order to get the greatest value out of presentations, it’s important to chart your course through the wide variety of sessions. Before the conference, go over the schedule thoroughly and identify the sessions that are most relevant to the problems you’re trying to solve. Some of my favorite sessions are those that speak directly to overcoming challenges through the use of technology. Resist picking sessions by title alone — read the whole session description before you decide. Choose sessions that provide relevant research that can help you make better decisions and real-life practical case studies that illustrate how others solved their problems. I generally give special attention to sessions that look like they will “show” as much (or more) as they “tell”. It doesn’t take much time to read the session descriptions completely, and doing so will ensure you focus on those special sessions that make the whole conference truly worthwhile.
2. Make new friends.
Even more important than the information you learn will be the new friends you meet. We are part of such a wonderful community of smart, interesting professionals. Best of all, people in the higher ed web community are very willing to share information and technology ideas that will make your job easier. Take advantage of their helping hand when you need advice. As a vendor to higher education, listening is important! Our best product development ideas always come from our customers and others in the community. Sure, we might have a booth at the conference, but we make sure we are in the sessions and joining the conversation — listening all the while.
3. Make memories.
Hundreds of fun, like-minded people gathered in one city… That’s the stuff memories are made of! Looking back at all the eduWeb conferences I’ve attended, what sticks in my mind are the after-hour get-togethers, the off-site excursions, and the impromptu adventures. These are the experiences that remain with me for years to come. What was my most memorable moment this year? I will never forget the song created just for eduWeb attendees at Howl at the Moon. We rocked that joint!
Looking forward to the 2016 conference in Denver, I’m already excited for the new lessons I’ll learn, the new friends I’ll meet, and the new memories that will last a lifetime. I hope to see you there!