8 tips to prepare for MSA 2014
We’re only 12 weeks away from MSA’s annual conference (and just days away from the end of the Early Bird Rates) and you won’t want to miss it! The MSA Retail Conference & Expo is the only event specifically created for professionals in nonprofit retail and we’ve added many new elements for our community of member institutions and affiliate vendors.
As you prepare to join us, here are eight tips to making the most out of your MSA 2014 experience.
1. Plan your sessions, meetings and activities in advance. MSA 2014 is packed full of keynotes, sessions, product sourcing opportunities, networking events and more. You might be surprised when you take a closer look at the expanded schedule compared to years past. By thinking strategically before you arrive, you will cover as much as possible. We recommend our institutional members visit the Shop the Expo section of the website to view a virtual floor plan and get vendor contact information. Set advance appointments for the best attention and service. Plus, you’ll want to get an early look at 2014 Show Specials to save money when placing orders at the expo.
2. Create a document with your travel arrangements and schedule. A successful show starts with making sure all the details of your hotel and flight reservations are confirmed and readily available. Follow up by writing down key activities, sessions and meetings. Have an electronic copy accessible on your phone or other device. Bring a hard-copy too. And make your hotel reservations soon to ensure the best conference rates!
3. Download our MSA conference app. Available for both iPhone and Android, the MSA Conference App is a great companion to extend your experience. It will be available for download a few weeks before the event. Use this tool for planning in conjunction with the conference program book. It includes schedules, speakers, sessions, exhibitors, special events, maps, local activities and more. See who else is attending and connect with those you know or others you have a special interest in meeting.
4. Bring plenty of business cards. MSA is a community. Your primary objective at the event is to build relationships whether with vendors, buyers or experts in the field. One of the highest perceived values from the conference comes from the people you meet. Post-expo follow-up will yield the highest results in making relevant connections. A stack of up-to-date business cards will go a long way in being remembered by others.
5. Prepare your electronics and pack your chargers. A cell phone, tablet and laptop are among the many devices you may want to bring along. Be sure the batteries are fresh and each device is packed with its charger. You will appreciate the ability to readily access your schedule, take notes, post to social media, take pictures, check out the MSA app and reach out to colleagues to confirm meetings.
6. Bring your top problems for innovative solutions. MSA has put significant effort into enhancing its educational opportunities for 2014 including creative new formats and themes. We’ve brought in more speakers and sessions, all of which are designed to focus on the most pressing needs of museum store professionals. Surround yourself with a unique community of like-minded professionals facing many of the same problems and how they’ve developed innovative solutions. The more clarity you have on what issues you are looking to solve, the easier it will be for others to help.
7. Delegate back at the office. We understand you have a lot on your plate. Try to get important priorities completed before you leave and assign daily responsibilities to a staff member or colleague. You will get the most out of conference by being present both in mind and body. Rest easy knowing the office has a plan to be able to stay on task in your absence.
8. Smile, relax and enjoy. Once you’ve committed, take pleasure in the ride. The MSA Conference & Expo is an opportunity to learn and do business. For many in attendance, it is a special opportunity to see longtime friends and make new connections. People come from around the globe to express their commitment to the museum store profession. You are a community. Enjoy!
We look forward to seeing you in Houston in April!