I’m Not Quite Done With ASAE 2012

It’s been a week since ASAE’s Annual Meeting ended and I’m not ready to close the book on this year’s meeting. If you attended the Annual Meeting in Dallas August 11-14 and saw the twitter feed – you know there was a lot of great information beind shared. There were so many great sessions that I wanted to attend but couldn’t. I couldn’t let all that amazing information dissapear into the twitter black hole of old tweets – so I spent a few days organizing, reformatting, and saving the tweets for future use.

Below you will find links to each day’s tweets (at least the ones I could recover) from the conference. I’m hoping we can continue to learn, grow, and move forward after what was another amazing Annual Meeting.

Sunday, August 12 | Monday, August 13 | Tuesday, August 14

In the next few days I’ll share a more traditional post-conference post. Until then, enjoy the tweets!

A Walk Through Guide for ASAE’s 2012 Annual Conference: My On-Site Schedule

This is part two of a three-part series focusing on what to do before, during, and after this year’s ASAE Annual Conference. This second post is my in-depth (and probably overly detailed) on-site schedule including sessions and events I’ll be attending. You may also want to see my posts on Five Tips for an ASAE Annual Conference First Timer and A Walk-Through Guide to ASAE’s Annual Conference: Pre-Conference Prep. (Sorry, this is a long post!)

Update August 6, 4:16pm – I added a few other social events on Sunday and Monday I thought sounded interesting but will be unable to attend.

On-Site Tips for Attendees

Have a plan
Know what you want to get out of the conference, what you’re going to do while you’re there – it’s much easier than constantly flipping through your program finding out where to be next.

Pick a few sessions
Line up a number of educational sessions for each time slot. You’ll see below I picked three for each time slow in case some of them are full.

Clear your calendar
Try to be 100% unavailable for work so you can focus on the conference experience.

Spend some time in the expo hall
If you’re responsible for marketing your association’s conferences, talk to the CVBs in the cities you’ll be visiting.

Meet new people
Don’t sit with friends you already know during sessions, lunches, and events. It feels safe but people are less likely to interrupt two comfortable friends and you’ll end up limiting yourself.

Phones to silent
As AMC Theatres always say, Silence is Golden, only when you’re in a session though. There’s always someone who forgets to do this.

Pace yourself
If you try to be everywhere in the first day or two, you’ll crash well before the end of the conference.

There’s something about live-tweeting and conversing with all the other association professionals on twitter that I love doing while I’m at the conference. If you’ll be tweeting at the conference, let me know if I need to add you to my ASAE Annual Conference Twitter list. Follow the list if you’re looking for people to follow during the conference.


If you have the fortune of landing on Saturday, you’re in luck. It’s so much easier getting into conference mode if you arrive on Saturday. This year, my flight plans didn’t get me into Dallas early enough to do one of the Dallas Double Take Tours. I’ll land in Dallas around 1:15pm or so, this will give me plenty of time to get to my hotel and settle in.

I expect to arrive at the hotel around 2pm or so. If you have a little bit of time this afternoon, use it to get settled into your room. I always unpack my entire bag; everything either goes onto a hanger in the closet or into a drawer. Trust me; it’s much easier than trying to get ready each morning out of your suitcase.

Ironing Tip: Once I’ve unpacked everything, the first thing I usually do is take all my clothes and hang them in the bathroom – turn on the hot water and steam all the wrinkles out of my clothes. Some items may require ironing anyways but this usually gets me a solid start. Or you can skip this step and go straight into ironing all of your clothes. I usually find a few steam sessions does the trick for me.

7:30 – 10:30pm
Definitely make your way to the Opening Night Celebration at Cowboys Stadium. ASAE will be providing bus/shuttle service from all the hotels to the opening celebration, so don’t worry about taking a taxi to the party. Hopefully you packed your favorite football jersey – definitely sport that. I’ll be coming in bar shoes, jeans, and my Tom Brady Jersey (Go Pats!). Last year’s opening celebration did not disappoint and this year’s should be stellar as well. Make sure you visit the conference center to “register” and pick up your badge holder – badges will be required to get in.


6:00 – 7:15am
Each year ASAE hosts a 5k Fun Run/Walk during annual. It’s something I’ve wanted to do but a 6am start time is a bit rough for me. This year, I’ll be skipping out on it in lieu for a few extra hours of sleep. Maybe next year

8:30 – 10:00am
The first session of the conference will be Opening Session with James Carville, Karl Rove and Michelle Bernard engaging in a spirited, insightful, and provocative discussion. I’m having some difficulty seeing the purpose of this session to association professionals but how often will I have the opportunity to hear these three speak in person?

10:00am – 1:30pm
More and more I’m starting to realize the Association Solutions Marketplace with Lunch is a missed opportunity for a lot of people. In the last few weeks I’ve noticed myself saying on a number of occasions “I’ll be at ASAE’s annual, I can — look for vendors, talk to our vendor, and meet with our future CVBs — while I’m there. There’s no other place where I’m going to have this kind of access to my current, future, and potential business partners that I’ll have during the Expo Hall. I highly recommending checking to see if any of your vendors will be there; this is a great opportunity to get some one-on-one time if you have any questions, concerns, or feedback about their products. Also, it’s an included lunch!

Visit the On-Site bookstore. This is a tough one for me…while I do love great association books I rarely want to carry them home. If I have space in my checked bag I’ll buy them but I usually don’t want to carry them on board with me. The conference discounts are nice though

1:30 – 2:45
This is the heart of the conference, the learning labs. The good sessions fill up quickly so make sure you pick a few sessions in each time slow you are interested in attending. I think it’s also important to use this opportunity to explore areas you don’t normally get exposed to. I make it a habit of picking three sessions in each time slot and rank them in order. More times than not my first, second, and even third choices have been packed forcing me to scramble to find a new session.

When I’m picking my sessions I’m usually all over the place. My primary focus is communications and marketing but I also try to attend sessions about meetings, governance, membership, and sessions for my own personal/professional development.

For this time slot I’ve selected:

  • Business of Meetings: The Strategic Impact of Digital Events on Meetings
  • Video as an Educational and Communication Tool
  • Conversations that Matters: How Online Community is Changing the Way We Work

 Interesting Session: Story Slam/Coaching Jam

Travel Alberta is hosting baseball game, Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers, immediately following the ASAE tradeshow. Head to the Texas Rangers baseball game in an air conditioned bus to watch from a private suite.

3:15 – 4:30
For this time slot I’ve selected:

  • The Science Behind Member Loyalty
  • Grow Revenue through a Successful Partnership Program
  • The Future of Tradeshows

5:00 – 6:00pm
Community Section Receptions are a great time for you to mingle with other association professionals in the same position as you. Take this opportunity to meet and mingle to develop your network of peers. These will be association peers you’ll be reaching out to when you come across an issue or problem that you need help with. Don’t feel like you have to stay in on reception either, especially if you’re a small staff professional who is responsible for multiple areas. Keep in mind, you don’t want to be one of those networkers who only spends 5 minutes in each place and denying yourself the opportunity to make some genuine connections.

The rest of the evening is open for the conference. This is when most vendors will schedule their social events for clients and/or new prospects. Basically, this is a big “social” night for all attendees. You will find some attendees planning dinners or happy hour with friends, other attendees going to vendor parties, some hanging out at the local pub. Whatever you do, don’t spend the rest of your night in your room. Below are some of the events I’ll be attending:

This is an event I won’t be attending but looked amazing. Fort Worth CVB is hosting a Best of Fort Worth on the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. If you’re interested in attending RSVP to Linda Jingles at lindajingles@fortworth.com or call 817.698.7833 no later than August 8.

6:30 – 9:30pm
I’ll be starting my night off with Higher Logic’s, Fiesta Fabulosa at the Iron Cactus. Their party will feature a Mariachi Band and true Texas food and drink; I’m looking forward to this. For registration information, contact Lauren Wolfe, RSVPs are required.

I won’t be attending this but I thought it was interesting, a CVB Coalition event, Welcome to Our Home Away From Home by Visit Pittsburg, Visit Milwaukee, and Travel Portland at the Belo Mansion.

8:30pm – 2am
Multview’s Party Your Assn Off is definitely on the top of my DO NOT MISS events. Last year’s party was an amazing event and this year is looking to be amazing as well. This event is open to all registered attendees so make sure you sign up for this!


7:00am – 8:30am
Come join your industry peers for this celebration of friends and colleagues as ASAE recognizes the 2011 class of CAEs, Fellows, DELP Scholars, and Leadership Academy participants (that’s me!).

8:45 – 10:00am
For this time slot I’ve selected:

  • Blah Blah Blah: Forget the Ordinary and Learn to Write Marketing Copy That Gets Responses
  • Under the Hood: “Car Talk” Takes on Association Publishing
  • Hot Topics in Antitrust Law

Interesting Session: Strong Associations of the Future

10:00am – 1:30pm
If you’ve never been to ASAE’s annual conference, the Association Solutions Marketplace with Lunch floor is HUGE. I’ll definitely be using this second day to meet with CVBs of our future location meetings and vendors with specific products. Even if you aren’t looking for a vendor now, chances are you will be at some point – take some time to walk up and down the aisles.

1:30 – 2:45pm
For this time slot I’ve selected:

  • Ignite – THIS IS A MUST ATTEND. I’ve attended 3 ignites with two of them as a speaker and everyone says they’re amazing. You get exposed to a variety of content in a short period of time. This is especially great when the speakers are engaging; it’s such a great event. Here are videos from the two Ignite Talks I’ve done at ASAE events, Twitter Saved My Life: Not Really, but Maybe and Go Innovate Yourself: Seven Principles Inspired by Steve Jobs if you want a small taste. I highly recommend taking a look at ASAE’s YouTube channel to see the videos from all the Ignite talks they’ve done.
  • The Hottest Tool in Member Retention: Content
  • 21st Century Pricing: How to Price Dues, Programs, and Products

Interesting Session: Silos are for Farms: Integrating Your Organization’s Content to Increase Member learning, Value, and Success

3:15 – 4:30
For this time slot I’ve selected:

  • Association Marketing is SOOOO Vanilla
  • Creating Social Strategy
  • Delivering Now: Lessons from a National Industry Awareness Campaign

Interesting Session: How to be an Association Rainmaker

4:30 – 5:30pm
For all of you association publishing professionals, join Association Media and Publishing for their Networking Get-Together at Bob’s Steak & Chop House in the Omni Downtown Dallas. If you haven’t registered yet, sign up through their website, you’ll need an AM&P account.

5:30 – 8:30pm
This is the first time I’ll be attending ASAE’s Foundation’s – The Classic VIP Reception at the Meyerson Symphony Center – home to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. I’m looking forward to food from Dallas’ top chefs and restaurants and their local celebrity chefs.

7:00 – 10:00pm
Following the VIP Reception will be ASAE’s Foundation’s – The Classic at the Winspear Opera House to indulge in the ‘new’ Dallas with catering by Wolfgang Puck (this guy seems to be everywhere these days).

9:00pm – 1:00am
The YAPstar network-FEST is always another great social gathering during ASAE’s annual. This year’s event will be hosted at the Hard Rock Dallas. The first 125 guests will receive two free drink tickets thanks to Association Mavens and Aggregage – thanks to both of them for their support this year and of course Hard Rock for the venue!


9:00 – 10:15am
For this time slot I’ve selected:

  • Can You Hear Me Now? Communicating With Members on Multiple Platforms
  • How Relevance is Transforming the Direct Marketing Strategy of Associations
  • Creating and Selling E-Books – Today

Interesting Session: Earning the CAE: your Path to Success in Association Management

10:45am – 12:00pm
For this time slot I’ve selected:

  • Today, Tomorrow, & Beyond: Changing Demographics in America
  • Less is More: Successfully Evaluating Your Programs and Services
  • Advanced Social CRM: Avoid Social Data Silos

Interesting Session: Upgrade to Free: 50-Plus Free and Bargain Tech Tools and Apps to Make Your Worklife Easier

12:15 – 2:00pm
I’m really looking forward to the Closing General Session with Daniel Pink, The Moving Business: The Tender Art and Surprising Science of Convincing, Compelling and Cajoling Others where Daniel will offer a fresh look at the art and science of selling (something we can all try to do better as association professionals).

2:00pm – 7:00pm
If you’re looking for something to do before the Closing Night party and not taking one of the Double Take Tours (I’m sad I missed out on this opportunity), check out the New York Times’ Travel Page, 36 Hours in Dallas. Obviously you won’t have time to do everything on here, but you may find a few interesting things to pass the time Tuesday Afternoon. Of course you’ll want to do some of these activities with your newly found association friends!

7:00 – 10:00pm
On the final night of the conference, celebrate with your fellow attendees at the Closing Night Celebration at Fair Park, the nation’s largest and recently named a “Top 10 Classic American Experience” by CNN.


Have I missed anything for this year’s conference? What are you looking forward to in Dallas?

A Walk-Through Guide to ASAE’s Annual Conference: Pre-Conference Prep

After my previous post, Five Tips for an ASAE Annual Conference First-Timer, I decided a more in-depth guide might be helpful. So I bring to you, A Walk-Through Guide to ASAE’s Annual Conference. This will be a three-part series focusing on what to do before, during, and after this year’s ASAE Annual Conference. This first post will focus on what you need to do before you arrive in Dallas to make the most out of your time while you are there.

Download the Conference App

ASAE continues to provide an app for their conferences; you can download an iPad version from the iTunes Store by searching for ASAE12. I’ve heard that there will be an iPhone app but as of this posting I have yet to find it through the App Store. If you are on a non-apple smartphone check out your app store. The app is helpful in keeping track of the sessions you’ve selected for the conference and for the finding information about the exhibitor hall. However, it doesn’t replace all the information in the conference program.

This year they’ve added integration into Collaborate, ASAE’s social community for its members. There’s also twitter integration for the conference hashtag, #ASAE12, the ability to tweet from within the app, exhibitor information, and a floor plan for the expo hall only. It’s worth the download — even if it’s just to have quick access to a schedule at a glance. You won’t be able to enter any events not found in the app though — so all those meetings you schedule and social events will have to go somewhere else.

Review the Conference Sessions

This year’s annual conference hosts more than 130 sessions, 137 to be exact (as of the preliminary brochure). That’s a lot of choices for even the most veteran conference attendee – and you only get to pick seven of these learning labs. You will have some tough choices to make, to ensure you make some good ones take some time going through the preliminary brochure you were sent, or review session descriptions online.

Typically I go through each Learning Lab time slot and pick three or four sessions that I’m interested in attending. I try not to pick sessions solely in my responsibility area, I encourage you to pick some sessions that seem interesting even if it’s out of your practice area. You’ll be amazed at the ideas you can pull in from other topic areas. In my next post I’ll share with you the sessions I’ve selected for each time slot.

Also, if you end up in a session that isn’t interesting you; don’t feel like you have to stay through it. I know everyone gets nervous about leaving during the middle of the session. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, and I think it depends on the person. It’s possible the session description didn’t match what they are talking about or you thought it would be something completely different. While I’m all for being polite, I also realize I only have 7 sessions to pick from and I can’t afford to “waste” a session just to be polite.

Download Session Handouts

ASAE’s conferences have been paper-free/green friendly for a while now so all of the provided handouts are available online. It’s a shame they don’t make the handouts available through the iPad app. You may want to consider pre-printing handouts for sessions you want to attend. ASAE will also have printer stations located throughout the conference floor with access to the handouts that you can print onsite. I would rather spend time in-between sessions meeting new people than running off to print handouts. You can always access these handouts online after the conference.

Line Up Your Social Events

Attend social events! Association professionals definitely know how to let their hair down, and you never know when you’ll make an amazing connection. As I’m writing this I’m talking to friend I met at last year’s annual conference – in fact, we probably talk multiple times a week (on g-chat of course).

You can meet quite a few people at social events, such as the Opening Night Celebration at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday Night, Section Receptions on Sunday evening, Awards & Recognition Breakfast, ASAE Foundation’s Classic VIP Reception and Classic, or the Closing Night Celebration at the Fair Park on Tuesday night, just to name a few. Of course there are always vendor parties to attend on Sunday and Monday evening. I’ll let you know which social events I’m attending in my next post.

Before You Go

Packing Tip: Before placing your clothes in your suitcase, encase each outfit or item (on its hanger) in a plastic dry-cleaning bag. I’m told your outfit will arrive wrinkle-free – but I’ve never tried this.

Research Dallas: I’m sure most of us have never been to Dallas anymore. Find a few items you might be interested in checking out while you’re there. I’m a big fan of the New York Times, 36 Hours in <city name> series, see their page for Dallas.

In my next post, I’ll provide a detailed walk-through guide for Saturday through Tuesday evening, including top three sessions I’ve picked for each time slot and what evening events I know about.

What pre-conference tips do you have to share with your fellow attendees?

ASAE 2012 Annual Conference Hotel Map – Dallas

For those attending ASAE’s Annual Conference in Dallas, TX next August I’ve created a hotel map. If you’re like most people, you’re want to stay within walking distance of the Convention Center.

Note: The Hilton Antole and Ritz Carlton Dallas are not shown on this map.

ASAE 2012 Annual Conference Hotel MapClick to view larger version. Download a Hi-Res PDF.

I’m looking forward to attending my second ASAE’s annual conference this year. Last year was an amazing professional development opportunity. I made so many new friends and turned my online friends into offline friends! Will you be in Dallas this year?