Earlier this week I shared a little bit about my Showit United experience. I hoped to express how transformative this conference was for me. More than anything, it pushed me outside of my comfort zone and
forced (gently encouraged) me to immerse myself in meaningful relationships with other entrepreneurs/photographers. I am already looking forward to the announcement of Showit United 2016 so I can book my tickets. For all of you who are also eagerly awaiting next year’s conference I have decided to share my Top Seven Tips for a Fabulous United Experience.
1. Bring Snacks || I will be completely honest with you, food is always on my mind. ALWAYS. So of course, this will be my first piece of advice: Bring snacks. Even though meals were provided, several times I found myself deeply enthralled in great talks or education when my stomach started to growl. Fortunately, I thought to pack a few snacks in my suitcase and carry them around the conference in my SWAG bag. Double win because this kept me from getting hangry (hungry-angry, obviously…) and I was able to share snacks with my new friends.
2. Bring Gifts || Along the same lines as sharing snacks = best way to make new friends, I also decided to bring a “roommate gift.” As I mentioned in my last United post, I didn’t know anyone to room with at the conference, so I was set up with the lovely Ms. Tina Elizabeth by the experts at Showit. She turned out to be a great match and a doll of a roommate.
Because my mother told me to never show up empty handed, I decided to bring a few goodies to greet my new roomie. I ended up buying several sets of goodies and gave little gift bags to the new friends I met. The gifts matched my branding and I slipped a little handwritten note into each, along with my business card. Gifts are absolutely not necessary, but if you are anything like me – a little nervous about meeting new people, this little kind act can help boost your confidence.
3. Bring Business Cards || Even if you don’t bring gifts/goodies, be sure to bring a stack of business cards with you. I met so many interesting individuals at the conference and was glad to collect their business cards so that we could stay in touch. I actually designed new cards before heading out to Phoenix. I was sure to include the most vital information: my business name, email, website and instagram (because that is my favorite social media platform, and where I like to connect with other creatives).
4. Quiet Time || With so much going on during the conference, I started to feel a little overwhelmed. I absolutely loved all of the education and talks, but could only take in so much before my brain wanted to switch off. My roomie, Tina, a very kindred spirit, shared my exhaustion, so we escaped to our room a couple of times to nap and recharge before diving into United again. I am a big advocate of “quite time” – when I take a little time for myself, I then have more to give others.
5. Get Away || Along the same lines as “quiet time” – I think it is perfectly acceptable to get away from the conference for a bit. Even though United boasted a jam-packed schedule, on the first night my roommate, two new friends we had just met, and I slipped away to have dinner on our own. Away from the clamor of the conference, we were able to engage in our smaller group and I got to know these sweet ladies on a much deeper level.
6. Invest in Education || Because I was already flying into Phoenix, I decided to maximize my experience there by staying a couple of extra days to participate in additional education. I took Justin & Mary’s Lighting Intensive the day after United. The workshop was just what I was looking for and I learned a lot in a very short amount of time. I was glad that I could add this to my United experience because it would have been much more difficult (and expensive) to take the workshop at another time/place considering the time and travel necessary. Although I didn’t participate, Showit United also offered a whole array of styled shoots for attendees at very reasonable prices. I will definitely be adding some of those to my experience next year.
7. Be Brave || On the first day of United, Showit CEO, Todd Watson, got on the stage and gave a wonderful talk encouraging everyone to Be Brave, Work Hard, and Don’t Give Up. In particular, the “Be Brave,” sentiment really spoke to me. As I’ve mentioned, it wasn’t easy for me to go to United. I bought early-bird tickets the day they were announced (back in December of 2014) and almost immediately had buyer’s remorse. What was I thinking? I didn’t know anyone. I thought I was destined to sit in a corner by myself for the duration of the conference. In the months leading up to United, I tried to talk myself out of going so. many. times. But instead I went, I was brave, and a lot of other people were brave as well. We supported each other and became part of a community.
So If you’re thinking you can’t go to United because you do not know anyone, or you will not fit in, I’m here to tell you you’re wrong. Be brave. Join us. Make new friends. There is a wonderful community out there waiting to welcome you. Come say hello!
Well, these are my top tips for attending United. Did you go to United? What would you add to this list? I would love to hear from you – and hope to see you all there next year!
Moriah Riona is a Colorado Springs based photographer and graphic designer specializing in glamorous weddings and sophisticated brands.
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