Buddies Welcome Newbies: A Conference Event You Don’t Want to Miss
The hybrid format of this year’s Annual Conference brings with it new opportunities and challenges alike, for all attendees. Are you ready for the ins and outs of next week’s events, whether you are attending in person or virtually? Here are The Savvy Newcomer’s top ten tips for a successful hybrid conference:
- Attend Buddies Welcome Newbies
Both the virtual and in-person components of this event will provide first-time attendees the opportunity to connect with a seasoned conference-goer and have their burning questions answered. A great way to start off the conference festivities, Buddies Welcome Newbies will offer some networking advice as well as time to get to know your Newbie(s) or Buddy.
Virtual: 12:15-1:00pm Central time on Wednesday, October 27, 2021
In person: 4:45-5:30pm Central time on Wednesday, October 27, 2021
(We recommend that you check the box on your conference registration to sign up for these events, but this is not required.)
- Check the registration desk
You’ll need to visit the registration desk to pick up your conference badge before attending any events, but be sure to also check out some additional accoutrements in the registration area: a) language dots to show what languages you speak or work in; b) ATA branded facemasks available for purchase at the ATAware store; c) colored wristbands to indicate your level of comfort with proximity to others.
- Join us for breakfast (in person only)
The breakfast area is always a great place to meet new people, especially so for first-time attendees. If you can’t make it to the Wednesday event the Saturday Buddies Welcome Newbies breakfast is a great opportunity to connect with a Buddy and ask questions.
- Attend networking events
In addition to your educational sessions, be sure to work in some time for networking events; these are a great place to connect with colleagues you may never have met otherwise. They are available to both virtual and in person attendees; make sure to check the schedule for the events that may interest you!
- Have virtual materials ready
Even if you are attending the conference in person in Minneapolis, it’s a good idea to be prepared with online resources that will allow you to share your contact information with others quickly, easily, and safely. Consider having a QR code that people can scan to add you on LinkedIn or access your website/a contact card.
- Prepare some questions
Lots of networking experts will tell you to have an elevator speech ready, and we agree that you should have thought about a succinct way to explain who you are and what you do. But networking is a two-way street! You should also be ready with engaging and open-ended questions that will help you learn about the people you meet and get to know them better. Instead of “So, what do you do?” think something more like, “Have you gained any interesting new clients lately?” or “How did you get started as a translator/interpreter?”
- Plan how you’ll collect contact info
You’ll certainly give out your own contact information to lots of colleagues at the conference, but you’ll probably also collect the contact info of many colleagues as well. Do you have a secure means to store this information, whether digital or handwritten? Will your chosen method facilitate follow-up after the conference?
- Coffee breaks
Besides being a necessity for those of us with a caffeine addiction, coffee breaks are a good place to connect with people you might not otherwise get to know. Grab a hot beverage and strike up a conversation!
- Exhibit hall
The exhibit hall has all kinds of booths, from universities to translation agencies to software vendors. There’s something for everyone (and usually free swag as well!)
- Have fun!
Attending your first ATA conference can be overwhelming, but more than anything it should be fun. Translators and interpreters are a welcoming and engaging group of professionals, and we love nothing more than to share about our work and experiences with one another. That’s what makes the ATA conference the best week of the year!