1. Get plenty of sleep beforehand! Xerocon is big. You have sessions you can attend, networking with peers and the add-on partners to see, not to mention the after hours drinks and networking. It's a lot to cram into 2 days.
2. Take the team. If your business is more than just you behind the desk, make sure you take at least some of the team with you too. It's impossible to attend every session and talk to ALL of the add-on partners. So divide and conquer.
3. Plan for the add-on partners. It will be near impossible for you to get to ALL the add-on partners. So make sure you review the schedule beforehand and know the ones you really want to talk to in-depth before you go. Then make these partners your 1st stop. All the add-on partners are great so if you don't get to talk to everyone make sure you grab a card and follow up after the conference (see point 5).
4. Plan your networking. A big part of Xerocon is getting to network and swap trade stories from your peers. If there is someone you want to ask a question of or introduce yourself to, make sure you give him or her the heads-up before hand. It makes it much easier to catch people. And with Twitter, Linkedin and the web nowadays it's much easier to coordinate this!
5. Schedule de-brief time when you get back to the office. As with any conference the biggest mistake I see people make is not scheduling time to go back over your action lists, follow up with people you meet and give the team an update. This is by far THE most important part of going to conferences.
6. Get an action list ... Making sure you have things to follow up on is essential. But take it easy – you don't want to be scrambling taking notes for the entire 2 days either. Here are my tips:
- When you meet people use something like Evernote Hello or bump to quickly add these people to your contacts. You can then search when you are back at the office and make a more meaningful connection.
- Use Evernote to take notes and pictures during the presentations. Quick simple key words are all you need. Use things like l - for learn, f for follow-up at the start of each line so you know what the next steps are.
- And lastly … cheat! So many people put great information on social media platforms such as Twitter now that you don't even really need to take notes! I setup Zap's for conferences where I send any tweets with the hashtag or key words to a Google spreadsheet so I can review at my leisure. I've even set one up you can copy for #xerocon :) http://zpr.io/PhUG
7. Don't miss the Gala Dinner or any other networking events. It's not often you get the chance to mingle with some of the brightest minds in the accounting profession as well as the entire Xero team. Add in great food, wine and a chance to see the Xero band .... certainly a must!
And lastly, but most importantly, have fun! Xerocon is a great event and a unique opportunity for learning, networking and wine and dining with other accounting professionals.