I am excited to be heading out to Alt Summit in just a few more weeks! I’ve never been to sunny Palm Springs before, so I am desperately excited for that.
I am, however, an Alt Summit vet and have some great pro tips to share to help you get the most out of it.
Warning: there ended up being a lot of pictures of me in this post. I didn’t set out with that intention. It’s Alt, what can I say?
Pro Tip #1
Leave your heavy, expensive electronics at home. If you have a recently released smart phone and DSLR photography is not your passion, then you’re cool with phone pictures.
This was my first Alt. I brought all the tech and was so serious. I also had an office job back then. I bought that cute polka dot blazer at Target when I landed in SLC and it was colder than expected. I’m wearing a thrifted Ann Taylor LOFT sweater under it. More on fashion in Pro tip 4. Oh my gosh, my bag was so heavy that year. I was miserable.
There are a ton of great photo ops and your smartphone will do you just fine. If you don’t have a ton of storage transfer your files before you head to Alt so you can snap and selfie all dang day. Alt brings in professionals anyways.
Photo by Justin Hackworth at the Alt Summit Downton Abby Party.
You guys, I’m NOT that adorable in real life. That is the magic of the Alt Professional Photographers.
This one was taken on my phone. See? Both nice. Also, don’t wear your fitbit. Don’t. And if you play roller derby be prepared to explain the bruised and swollen knees. Or don’t. Whatever.
Pro Tip #2
Bring a charger in your purse/bag. Or if you want to make friends, bring a light weight power strip. <-That will get your friends at the airport too.
Charge early and often. Maybe even bring a back up power source so you don’t have to stress. And you know what, if your battery dies, it dies. Go low tech and make sure you get biz cards of anyone who takes a cute photo with you.
Pro Tip #3
Opt for a iPad or good old fashioned notebook. I personally love the Wave Smart Notebook (not an affiliate link). You can upload notes to a dropbox with the QR code and share with your new Alt friends who went to different sessions. Plus it’s reuse-able and I couldn’t live without it at this point in my life. THIS IS THE BEST NOTE SHARING! Y’all are creatives so your pages will probably be works of art.
Alternatively, if you have an iPad pro and an Apple pencil sharing notes that way is pretty cool too. 😉 I’ll have both so definitely hit me up if you want a copy of my notes from chem lab, er, I mean that really great mini keynote Meg Keene gave.
Pro Tip #4
Dress for you. If you want to dress fancy, then by all means do it. If you are a creature of comfort, don’t be uncomfortable to keep up with the jones. Look people, I walk around barefoot or in yoga socks all day everyday. I’m not doing sky high stilettos. I tried it at my husband’s company Christmas party and could barely walk 15 minutes in.
This was my whimsy phase. I’ve had a lot of looks and phases, you guys. You’d think these are all the same Alt. They’re not. Just that same damn fitbit. Why did I care so much about my steps?
Do you. People want the authentic you. If the authentic you is cozy, then be cozy. If it’s dressy, or edgy or trendy then be it. Just don’t freak out about the fashion. A lot of us work in environments where we don’t get to look cute or super nice, so we do like to bust out some of the dressier yoga pants for Alt. *hahahahahaha*
So, yeah, I’ll be the one in the dressy yoga pants. But I promise to wear shoes when appropriate. AND I’ll try not to sit on the floor.
Bring an extra bag or leave plenty of space in your bag for the fun stuff you’ll bring back from Alt. Everything from amazing business cards, to treats, to stuff you’ll make, to the generous goodies from the sponsors, you are generally pampered at Alt like no other conference. Be prepared.
Pro Tip #6
Even if you’re shy like I am, step out of your comfort zone and go talk to people. I’m shy and weird, so it’s a double whammy for me. But the last Alt I attended I made two girlfriends that I will forever be in contact with. One I’ll be visiting on my way home from Alt. I’m coming for you, Megan! And one I call every time in the ATL. And one I gush over about how much his everything is Simply Amazing. <3 And one I’m doing a roundtable the same time as she is.
Sometimes this happens too. You’ll meet new friends like Robbi and Matthew who do amazing thing in their life and sometimes it spills over into yours. (I’m going to be their Tundra Nanny next year, right Matthew!)
Pro Tip #7
Set a goal for yourself going into Alt. Maybe it’s “I want to collect 40 business cards and make that many connections.” Or “I want to connect with XYX brand.” Or “I want to attend Sara’s roundtable and hear her advice on doing the damn thing.” That last one is a solid goal. Seriously, maybe your only goal is to attend a conference for the first time and see what this is all about. Have your elevator pitch ready to go. Practice it before you come. Be able to describe what you do in 15 seconds or less.
My goal is to try not to yell at who ever is teaching poolside yoga if I think their sequencing is bio mechanically unsound. Especially during the class. I do that a lot. You guys, I’m also a little bit of a dick, so just you know. Don’t be alarmed.
See you in a few weeks!