Attending Hobsons University for the first time can be enlightening and inspiring – even for Hobsons staff! Just as we have clients attending for the first time, we also have staff members who are new to the conference each year. I was one of those staff “newbies” at Hobsons U 2014, and I left just as enlightened and inspired as many of our clients did. If you’re thinking about attending Hobsons U for the first time in 2015, here are a few observations I picked up from last year that I hope will help you navigate this awesome event.
Register for all those extra activities BEFORE the conference
Each year, our staff spend months planning Hobsons U with the goal of bringing you valuable activities that allow you to network, collaborate, and have fun with likeminded colleagues. Many of our 2014 conference activities (networking lunches, conference parties, and evening social outings) required an RSVP from attendees prior to the conference so that our staff could plan accordingly. At on-site registration, conference packets included a ticket to all of the events an attendee registered for that they were then required to bring with them to the actual event. Many attendees who didn’t pre-register for the events requested to do so the day of the conference. These events were often already at capacity or required a waiting list for later attendees. Avoid missing out or being waitlisted at Hobsons U 2015 by signing up for all activities in advance!
A lot happens outside of the general conference sessions
Hobsons U 2014 was packed with content – pre-conference workshops, keynote sessions, product showcases, general sessions, and product Q&As. No doubt that these sessions were beneficial to attendees, but I couldn’t help but notice all the buzz and knowledge-sharing happening outside of these traditional gatherings. For example, last year’s conference included Hobsons HQ, a special room dedicated to hosting short, informal presentations on various topics. One session included a sneak peek into Hobsons’ (then yet-to-be-launched) new online user community and support portal called Compass. Attendees of the presentation were invited to be part of an early adopter group and use the community before we launched to our entire client base – a unique opportunity that was not advertised anywhere else during the conference!
In addition, ALL areas of our conference space were consistently buzzing with attendees and Hobsons staff who were chatting, collaborating, meeting, and networking. Many Hobsons staff who attended Hobsons U 2014 were there specifically to meet with clients throughout the day, answer their questions, showcase our products, conduct training, and more! While I know we offered the opportunity for attendees to schedule meetings with staff in advance, plenty of staff were usually available to meet on the fly with attendees throughout the week. So, when you’re taking a break or wandering the conference halls this year, take advantage of the opportunity to meet one on one with a Hobsons staff member.
No one does conference parties like we do
While I’d never encourage our clients to come to Hobsons University just for the social events, I think it’s safe to say that conference experiences are better when attendees can have a great time at social events with fun entertainment, good food, and casual networking opportunities. These social events are great for Hobsons staff as well – after a full day of talking “business,” it is great to finally relax and have real, friendly conversations with our clients and get to know them better as people.
Last year, our Nash Vegas-themed conference celebration party brought out the best in rhinestone cowboy attire, complete with everything from leopard skin pants, feather boas, bedazzled boots, and plenty of Elvis impersonators. The band belted out tunes and gave an energetic performance as clients and staff let loose and danced the night away. I’m not sure what the party theme will be for Hobsons U 2015, but I guarantee it will be one party you won’t want to miss!