First Time Attending?

networking, first time attendeesWith more than 5,000 people expected to attend, over 100 education programs to choose from, and close to 100 social events Sunday through Wednesday, AIHce can be overwhelming for first-time attendees. Below are some tips to help make the most of your first AIHce experience in Baltimore, Maryland. Think of these as old-fashioned “tips for the road.”


What to Do Before the Conference

Determine your objectives for the conference

Take some time to think about your short-and long-term career and personal goals. Now think about your objectives for the conference and how these objectives will further your goals. Make sure to attend sessions that cover the content you need, as well as some sessions that may not be directly related to your job but will broaden your perspective of the field.

Search and build your agenda

The secret to feeling relaxed and organized is to build your conference agenda BEFORE you arrive in Baltimore! View the Advance Program online, and then use the session search tool to find sessions, programs, and speakers that meet your conference education objectives. Presentations will be available in the mobile app before conference (if available), so you can print or save digitally to take notes for all of your chosen programs. Plan now!

First Timers Orientation Breakfast

dupontBe sure to mark your schedule for this great morning event, sponsored by Dupont, on Monday, May 23 from 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.

Tip Proudly wear a “First Timer” ribbon on your badge! These are available at registration.

Held in the Holiday Ballroom 6 at the Hilton Baltimore, this session will provide you the opportunity to meet other first-time conference attendees, learn how to effectively use the mobile app and the Final Program as your conference guides, discover the best networking events that can lead to meeting valuable contacts, learn about on-site resources and what they can do for you, and hear tips on how to maximize your overall conference experience.

Register as a PAL

Sign up to participate in the Personal AIHce Liaison (PAL) Program when you register for the conference. Beginning in early May, AIHce staff will be emailing you about your match. This is a great way to learn about navigating the conference from an experienced AIHce attendee.

Practice your elevator pitch

Prepare a short introduction of yourself and your plans for the future. It’s helpful to have both a 10-second and a 30-second introduction, so you’ll be prepared when you bump into the right person on the elevator or at a reception.

Get social!

Follow AIHce 2016 on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and download the AIHce mobile app. You don’t have to wait until the conference to tweet; start using #AIHce16 and following @AIHA today!

Find your way in the AIHce Expo Hall

The conference is massive, with more than 200 exhibitors! Explore Map Your Show to locate Exhibitors and find products, services, and solutions you need. You can filter by an alphabetical directory or category and subcategory. Then, use the My Show Planner tool to save exhibitors, make appointments, and connect with the companies and people who can make your job easier.

What to pack

  • A big stack of business cards.
  • Plenty of resumes for the CareerAdvantage Development Fair.
  • Healthy snacks and a refillable water bottle. Keep your brain and body nourished while you learn!
  • Charging cables and your laptops/smart devices. Laptops and smartphones are allowed to be used during session activities, but be sure to silence your settings! The Expo Hall will have several charging stations onsite to give your electronics that extra boost to make it through the day!
  • Comfortable shoes: you’ll be walking a lot and may be on your feet for hours at a time.
  • Appropriate clothing: Come to AIHce dressed to impress, but be comfortable while sitting, standing, and walking your way through the conference. The dress code of the conference is business casual. If you plan business meetings, you’ll need business attire. Please note the rooms in the convention center tend to be cool. It’s a good idea to bring a sweater or other layers when you get cold.
  • A travel umbrella.
  • Instructions on how to access your work e-mail and server remotely.
Back to the top.

What to Do During the Conference

Make sure to give yourself enough time on your first to day to register and pick up your conference program and badge

Registration hours and workshop/session start times can be found in the conference Program. Be sure to check meeting times closely. The final conference program you’ll receive after check-in lists times and locations for all conference sessions, workshops, and other events. Times and locations, however, occasionally shift after the program is printed; check the AIHce 2016 mobile app for updates.

Keep track of your badge

Your conference badge allows you admission to sessions and includes tickets to certain events. You must have a badge for all AIHce 2016 activities. Do not lose it—a replacement costs $5!

Allow enough travel time from your hotel to the sessions

Give yourself enough time to go from session to session comfortably—especially since you may have impromptu conversations with folks you meet in the hallways!

Check meeting times closely

The final Conference Program you’ll receive after check-in lists times and locations for all sessions, events, workshops, receptions, and exhibitions. Times and locations, however, occasionally shift— the AIHce 2016 mobile app for updates.

Do I have to attend each session?

You should consult your program ahead of time to make a schedule of the sessions that are most appealing to you. It’s entirely possible that you can get just as much benefit from using a break to interact and network with other OEHS professionals as you would from attending a session during each time-slot.

You can use your laptop or smart phone during a session

Typing notes during a talk is okay; so is tweeting #AIHce16. Just be mindful of your neighbors and respectful of the speakers. And don’t forget to silence your phone!

Get social!

Follow AIHce 2016 on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and download the AIHce mobile app. Tweet or share your thoughts, photos, and other ideas by using #AIHce16 and following @AIHA!

Ask a question

Tip When you register for the conference, sign up to receive a Personal AIHce Liaison (PAL), an experienced attendee who will be your official “AIHce tour guide.”

Chairs usually reserve 10 to 20 minutes of time at the end of the session for audience questions. Write down your question in advance, and make sure that it’s a question related to the discussion. Don’t forget to state your name and your institutional affiliation so that people can remember you. If you’d like to respond to the presentations with your own comments, talk to a speaker afterward and get his or her email.

Look at fellow audience members

Remember the faces in the audience—if you see someone later, the session you both attended can be a conversation starter.

Partner with friends or colleagues to cover sessions happening at the same time

It’s not possible to do everything, so decide in advance who will attend each session and take notes. You could then meet after the sessions, or wait until you get home, to regroup and discuss.

Relax and rejuvenate

Schedule a little personal time to get off your feet and relax briefly. This can help you recharge your batteries. And, if you’re more in the mood to socialize, check out all the great Special Events we have scheduled!

Visit the AIHce Expo Hall

Spend time looking for opportunities to learn about new products, make new connections, and enhance your understanding of the information profession by visiting the Expo. While you may not need their services now, you might in the future, so use this time to connect with the leading companies in the OEHS landscape. Please remember to thank our exhibitors too; their investment helps offset registration costs to keep your fees low.

Participate in Passport to Prizes

Have your AIHce passport (found in your registration packet) stamped by all participating exhibitors for a chance to win some great prizes! This is a great way to break the ice and start a conversation with exhibitors to learn what they do and the products/services they offer. Currently, the following exhibitors are participating in Passport:

colden emlab p-k Erlab logo industrial scientific kinetics raecosafetec SAI Labs sds pro se international Sigma-Aldrich_logo sitehawk uniphos

Be Comfortable

Come to AIHce dressed to impress, but also make sure you’re comfortable to sit, stand and walk your way through the conference. The dress code of the conference is business casual.

Back to the top.

What to do Post-Conference

Take time to reflect

Did you meet your goals? It is helpful to write a summary of your experience for your personal records. You can include descriptions of sessions that interested you, ideas that came up, and who you met. Additionally, you can provide this to your supervisor to show the return on investment for your participation (be sure to include the dates of AIHce 2017 – June 2-8, 2017 in Seattle, WA).

Fill out conference evaluations that you receive via e-mail

Your feedback matters and will make a difference for future first-timers.

Follow up with your new contacts

Send an email to those you’ve networked with, including exhibitors and sponsors like Dupont, who hosted the First Timers Orientation Breakfast. You can present a question or discussion, or simply send a thank-you note for taking time to speak with you. Create an outreach plan to stay in touch with your new colleagues…perhaps scheduling time one day a month for emails or phone calls to share how you are each applying what you learned during the meeting.

Watch recorded presentations

Miss a presentation or want to see another one again?  Many of the presentations are recorded and will be available a few weeks after the end of the meeting.

Stay Social!

Continue following AIHce on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Pass on the Knowledge!

Put everything you learned at the conference into practice in your teaching. Share it with your colleagues.

Plan for AIHce 2017!

Make plans to attend your second conference, AIHce 2017, June 2 – 8 in Seattle, Washington.

Additional Reading

Attending a Conference as an Introvert

How to Get the Most Out of Conferences

12 Reasons You Should Attend Conferences

5 Ways to Survive Attending a Conference Alone

Back to the top.