By Kimberly Zonca, CEM

It’s that time of year again – time to register for Expo! Expo! With the Discount rates expiring on September 30, many Young Professionals have already registered and are set for their December trip. If you are not one of them and you haven’t yet registered or are new to the industry, here are a few tips to help you on your way.

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  1. Apply for 20 Under 30

If you are a young professional exhibition organizer member aged 30 and younger, this tip is for you! As a former 20 Under 30 honoree, I can tell you from my own experience that this program has been invaluable to my career! It helped me attend my first Expo! Expo! in Orlando when my company didn’t have it in the budget to send me. Since then and in part due to my experiences at my first Expo! Expo!, I have participated in the Krakoff Leadership Institute, joined the national Young Professionals committee, and recently completed my CEM.

Consider 20 Under 30 a kick-start to your career in the industry; this program provides full registration and hotel accommodations for you to experience Expo! Expo! to the fullest! And remember when I said it was 20 under 30? Those other 19 people will be your built-in beginner network as you will have plenty of opportunities to get to know all of them. More details and the application can be found here. Apply soon – the application deadline is 08 October!

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  1. Plan Ahead

There is a reason they provide you with the opportunity to register for all of the sessions during the registration process – it helps to come to the show with a plan! Carefully look at all of the options available to you during your time at the show, and register for the sessions that interest you. However…

  1. Be Flexible

…Sometimes life gets in the way of your plans. For instance, last year, my coworkers and I had to miss a few morning sessions to work on important tasks for our upcoming show. This year, you could find yourself caught up in an engaging conversation during breakfast or during a break with friends, or meeting a mentor. Or one of a hundred other scenarios that makes face-to-face meetings an invaluable experience. Therefore, don’t be upset if the plan you make for yourself isn’t the exact experience you have because some of the best experiences in life aren’t planned.

  1. Network with Other Young Professionals

If you arrive in time, join us for the IAEE Young Professionals Party on Monday, 11/30 from 6-8 p.m. Details will be announced closer to the show, but this annual networking get-together is always a must for me. Where else can you find a group of professionals that are your age, in your industry, from around the nation and around the world?

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If you can’t make it to Baltimore in time for the YP party, don’t fret! There will be plenty of other networking opportunities to meet your fellow YPs. Stay tuned to the YP Newsletter on IAEE’s social media channels for updates closer to the show. Links to all can be found at here.

  1. Wear Comfortable Shoes

You would think this one is a no-brainer, but I have lost count of how many times I see women either walking around with the tell-tale limp of uncomfortable heels or sitting at a table with their shoes off. So to my fellow Young Professionals who do not often travel to shows for work, please choose footwear that you could happily walk 5-7 miles in. If you insist on wearing something for fashion over function, bring a back-up pair of flats in your purse. Guys, this goes for you as well – make sure your loafers are in it for the long haul. You and your feet will thank me.

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I look forward to seeing each and every one of you in Baltimore this December!

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Posted by Elizabeth McQuade

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