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  • by Katrina Kent
  • Director Corporate Events, TD Ameritrade

7 Things to Do Before a Conference

LINC is just around the corner! We’re expecting over 3,500 people—product and technology sponsors, TD Ameritrade Institutional associates, attendees from our Next-Gen initiative, industry leaders, and, most importantly, advisors. That’s a big crowd, so we want to offer some advice on how you can plan to take full advantage of the time you’re spending out of the office with all of us.


From what to pack to where to be, here are a few planning tips to consider:

1. Confirm why you’re going. The California sunshine is very motivating for anyone who is looking to escape the cold winter temperatures, but hopefully there’s more than that bringing you to National LINC! Are you trying to make some key technology decisions to drive efficiency in your practice? Are you wondering about some new strategies for growing your business? Interested in hearing from some of our key sponsors? Those are all great reasons to attend. We have SO much content packed into just a few days that it’s key to identify your priorities so you don’t find yourself on the last day thinking, “I never got to visit the Business Consulting Lounge!” or “I missed three breakout sessions that I really wanted to hear!”. Review the agenda ahead of time and set up alerts on your phone or through the conference app to make sure you see what you want to see.

2. Research the conference website and social channels. Our conference website and app provide a wealth of information about what’s being covered, who’s part of our Veo® Village and who’s part of the main exhibit hall. You’ll also find full details on our agenda and speakers. Don’t wait until you get to San Diego to check out the agenda—plan now! And, we’ve been tweeting out updates—and will continue to do so throughout the conference—so follow our hashtag #NationalLINC to stay up-to-the-minute informed.

3. Network effectively. Taking time out of the office is sometimes a tough call. But if you plan effectively, the meetings you take and the connections you make during these few days in San Diego can make that time spent away well worth it. With so many of your colleagues also attending National LINC, it’s a great time to sit down over coffee and talk about best practices and big ideas. TD Ameritrade Associates are also available. It can be a great way to start some conversations that you can follow up on when you’re back. And our sponsors are there precisely to make the human connection that can be so helpful when you’re evaluating a new product, resource, or technology. Be present as much as you can, try to set up some meetings ahead of time, and make a point of attending as many networking events as you can.

4. Stay charged! There will be a lot of excitement throughout the conference with great speakers and events. We want you to stay energized; you’ll want to make sure your devices stay energized too! Look for Wi-Fi as a part of the conference, and make sure you bring your phone charger, tablet charger—and what-have-you—so that you can check the LINC app, take notes, keep in touch with colleagues, save contact information, and follow #NationalLINC on Twitter.

5. Remember business cards. Pop them in your bag right next to your chargers, and if you’re thinking you should bring 20 go ahead and bring 40. A good rule of thumb is to have twice as many cards as people you plan to meet, and even though it’s easy enough to enter a contact into your cellphone, the old-school business card still has merit. On the back, you can write yourself a quick reminder of some distinguishing feature of the contact or something important from your conversation. That’s a lot easier that tapping all that info into a smartphone!)

6. Make sure your social media is up to date. Update LinkedIn especially, because when you make a new connection at the conference, nine times out of 10 they’ll ask to connect with you on LinkedIn. You want to make sure your profile is up to date: current picture, current description of what you do, and where you do it, etc. Take five minutes and make sure you’re presenting yourself the way you want to. Also, Twitter is awesome for following live conversation and providing great information on the go. If you have any questions or feedback for us, tweet @TDA4Advisors!

7. Dress to impress, pack to be prepared. The dress code is business casual. Remember, you’ll be in hotel conference rooms that can tend to get chilly, so bring a light sweater. We’re going to have some great non-business events, too. So bring exercise clothes if you want to join us for the 5K. And for events like our closing night event with Sheryl Crow, bring something comfortable, even jeans! Think about what you have in your closet that makes you feel good and pack that—it’ll make you more comfortable as you learn, socialize, and network.

Katrina Kent, Director Corporate Events, TD Ameritrade

Katrina Kent, Director Corporate Events, TD Ameritrade

Plan your travel carefully. Winter travel can sometimes be a challenge! Try to pack what you really need in a carry-on just in case. Consider that some TSA lines at airports are running extra-long these days . . . so just do what you can to minimize travel hassle (and bring a good book for the plane!).

We’re all counting the days to LINC. Look forward to seeing you there!

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