Hubspot’s annual conference about all things inbound is just around the corner. Mirroring the software’s growth trajectory, the three and a half day conference has expanded its agenda beyond inbound marketing automation to include content about inbound sales and customer service. The resulting event is a multi-day training session that spans nearly the entire Boston Convention Center. If it is your first time attending, it can be a bit daunting. Read on for some of our best tips for making the most of INBOUND 2018 and surviving with your sanity intact.
Incorporate breaks into your schedule
With such an amazing roster of speakers, it is tempting to fill your day with back-to-back breakout sessions. But add in the morning and afternoon keynotes plus a lunch block and you’ll suddenly find yourself in non-stop session mode for nearly eight hours straight. It gets exhausting fast, even if you’re not there for the full week. Instead, focus on the sessions that will add the most value to your immediate needs and break them up with other value-add but less mentally taxing activities. Walk the exhibit hall to find a vendor you use but have never met in person, stop by Hubspot Academy to ask about a tool you struggle with or schedule a coffee date with an attendee you’d like to get to know better. You’ll still extract value from the day, but by changing up the routine and getting a break from those conference room chairs, your body will feel less drained for it.
Be present in your sessions
I often look around the session room and see people furiously scribbling on notepads or taking photos of the presentation in an effort to capture every kernel of knowledge the speaker is sharing. But when you’re so focused on capturing, you may miss out on analyzing. An overwhelming majority of presenters will share a bit.ly at the end so you can download their slides (sometimes with form fill, but what do you expect from a bunch of marketers?). Instead of trying to capture what they’re saying, actively listen and formulate questions. The true value in attending INBOUND is the opportunity to interact with these thought leaders in real time. Make the most of the Q&A, and don’t be shy about hanging around afterwards to ask a question of the presenter. Most are happy to hang around and if they can’t, you’ll often see them again, wandering the halls just like the rest of us.
Wear comfortable shoes
This may seem like a no brainer, but I cannot emphasize how important it is to wear super comfortable shoes. When I attended INBOUND for the first time, I was focused on looking put together and professional — I’d be networking after all — and failed to take into account the need for my flats to do more than look polished. The Boston Convention Center has over 500,000 square feet of exhibition space and INBOUND uses a hefty chunk of that. If you want to grab a coffee or use the bathroom between sessions, you may find yourself having to hustle so you don’t miss the start of your next session.
Review the map
This goes hand-in-glove with wearing comfortable shoes. The BCEC floor plan can be a bit confusing. Spend some time looking at the map each morning to confirm where your breakout sessions are relative to each other so you know the best way to get from one to the next. In addition to the BCEC, breakout sessions are held in the Westin and Aloft Boston Seaport, both of which are (technically) across the street.
Leave sessions early (politely)
This one may be controversial, but I am a proponent of leaving a session early if your next session is far away. If you know you’re likely to do this, sit in the back and pack up your things quietly to minimize the disruption. I typically wait until the Q&A is a few questions old so the speaker doesn’t feel too put out that I’m running out on them. This is also a great tactic for lunch. Lunch is available from the food trucks on Lawn D for several hours, but with two breakout sessions available during that window, you may have to make a choice between what you attend. The lines for the trucks can get long, but if you leave a session a few minutes early you may be able to grab a quick lunch and still make the second breakout.
Download the app
The INBOUND app is a great way to stay updated on event announcements and changes. Hubspot historically adds encore sessions of popular breakout presentations but only after the conference has started. The app is the best way to find out when a new sessions is added in real-time and register for it before it fills up (again). You’ll also get reminders about keynotes, special procedures for VIP speakers, lunch updates (obviously the most important) and more. According to HubSpot, the app will be released late-August.
Have a tip we haven’t covered here? Share it below in the comments. We’ve got one last awesome tip for those of you planning to drive to the convention center each day, but we’re afraid to share it, however, since it is only available to a limited amount of attendees. Contact us to find out more or schedule a coffee with us while you’re up in Boston!
See you at INBOUND 2018!