Planning on being in Denver for the 2013 AIA National Convention? A convention this big, filled with architects, can be an overwhelming prospect.
Where do you go? Who should you meet? Don't worry, Business of Architecture has you covered. Here are 10 tips to get the most out of your attendance at AIA National 2013:
- Meet as many people as you can – This is my top tip for anyone looking to get the most out of their conference attendance. Talk to people within your industry and at the events you attend. Ask them what they have found valuable. If you hit it off, ask them for recommendations of who else you should meet. Conventions are a great way to network, meet new people in your industry, and make new connections. Need an opening to start a conversation? Ask a question. And don't forget to meet me. Send a tweet to @BusinessofArch .
- Attend the pre-convention workshops – The Wednesday pre-convention workshops are a great way to get some in-depth training, increase your business acumen and meet new people. If you do residential design, don't miss these two workshops put on by the AIA's Custom Residential Architect's Network: WE104 Architect-Led Design-Build for Residential Practice and WE302 Tools and Trends in Web Platforms and Social Media for Residential Architects and Small Project Practitioners. [shameless promotion warning] If you'd like to know how the web can help you get more clients, WE302 is a good start. I'll be presenting (@businessofarch) along with Harold Dietrich, AIA (@hfdarchitects); Ann Harris, AIA Knowledge Outreach, Liza Hausman of Houzz.com (@lhaus), and Paul Jauregui of Myover, Inc. (@myover). There are still a few seats left, sign up today so you don't lose your spot. Here's the link.
- Get CES credits – This should need no explanation. We all need continuing education credits, so why not get it over with at AIA 2013?
- Leverage social media tools – If you don't have my book Social Media for Architects, get for free here (clicking won't take you away from this page). Social media is a great way to meet other people at the conference and also to keep all of those at home apprised of what you are doing at the conference. Chronicle your attendance and interesting things you find throughout the conference by posting pictures on your Facebook page and live-tweeting events you attend. Use Twitter hashtags to find and connect with people who are tweeting about the conference. Posting pictures to your business Facebook page will remind potential clients at home of what you do and show that you are active in professional development. Don't miss out on this excellent self-promotional opportunity for your firm!
- Make a plan – As basic as this may sound, remember the words of Steven Covey: begin with the end in mind. Download the PDF convention program and map out events you would like to attend. Get the conference app to make this easier (see item #7). Ask friends and colleagues on social media what they are attending. Here's the link to the program. One suggestion: listen to Randy Deutsch (@randydeutsch) speak about Learning to Lead with BIM and IPD and go check out my friend Mark LePage (@EntreArchitect) as he talks with Stephen Chung (@coolspacestv) and later on a panel for the premier of archiCULTURE (@archiculture) with Ian Harris (@ianxharris), Ned Cramer (@nedcramer), former UT Austin Dean Larry Speck, and AIAS President Matt Barstow.
- Go see the architecture of Denver – our friends Kevin Eckert and Andrew van Leeuwen at @buildllc have compiled a great list of not-to-be missed Denver architecture. Check it out here.
- Get the 2013 AIA conference app for iPhone or Android – props to the AIA for providing an app to keep abreast of the conference. The app is a great resource with maps, schedule planner and city information. This is a must have! Thanks @AIANational!
- Learn about apps for architects – Andrew Hawkins (@hawkinsarch) of Hawkins Architecture will be on-hand to share what he knows about 50+ apps that can help you work smarter and faster. Search the AIA Conference app for “Apps for Architects”.
- Attend the AIA TweetUp – this is a great way to meet all the people you know from Twitter! I'm curious how my the reality differs from my impression based on the Twitter profile picture. The TweetUp will be Friday from 3-4 pm in the Emerging Professionals Town Square. Here's the link.
- Ask lots of questions – Last but definitely not least, remember to ask a lot of questions. Ask all you can from presenters, colleagues and the new people you meet.
- Attend the Business of Architecture/Entrepreneur Architect TweetUp – this one is a bonus, follow me (@businessofarch) to get the announcement live on Twitter. You won't want to miss out on this opportunity to get together with other architects and discuss the Business of Architecture – co sponsored with Mark LePage of @entreArchitect of Entrepreneur Architect!
I could go on, but I think 11 tips are enough for today. If you can't make it to the convention, be sure to like Business of Architecture on Facebook and follow me on Twitter as I'll be posting updates throughout the convention. For another great article on getting the most out of AIA 2013, check out this post by Randy Deutsch (clicking will open a new tab): 13 Tips to Make the Most of Your Convention Experience.
Please let me know what I left out in the comments below!