NEW THING #55:
A REALLY BIG CONFERENCE
Working from home is my dream job - sweatpants & crazy hair for days.
The only thing that's better is meeting other people who are craving growth, inspiration & a little kick in the butt from some of the best speakers on this planet. Am I right?
Well, that’s cool but it's also kinda scary.
So I decided to go to RISE Business Charleston. It's the business conference by Rachel Hollis where tons of famous online peeps on the stage are going to talk to 6 thousands of us for 3 days. Six freaking thousands people. That's the biggest event I've ever been to. And did I already say 6 thousands people? Yeah.
I have real trouble recognizing faces. I can talk to someone one day & the next they wear something different & I could swear I've never seen them before. Also Keanu Reeves & Johnny Deep look exactly the same to me. So there's that. Times 6 thousand.
But still, here I come.
Because courage is NOT about having zero fears, anxieties & ”I pretty sure they think I'm awkward” kind of moments.
Courage is taking the first step, even if you don't know how it will turn out.
Courage is telling yourself that that weird feeling in your stomach is excitement. Courage is putting on a big smile & seeing other people as human beings who have their own struggles & are not just living their lives to judge yours.
What’s courage to you?
How was it?
3 days, 12 word-class biz bad assess as speakers, 6000 awesome women entrepreneurs (+ a few brave dudes ), dozens of times dancing like nobody’s watching (to the extent that it doesn't feel awkward anymore), tons of lunchtime /happy hour/ sidewalk meetups, countless WOWs, AHAs & “Preach that!”s, all streamed into 1 action plan for what’s next.
I'd say it's not bad for a weekend.
What to expect from a RISE conference?
What to pack?
It really depends on how you plan on getting there. If you're driving, you can probably pack a bit more.
We had a really long flight with 2 stopovers, so we only traveled with our carry-ons to make sure we don't get our luggage lost. This limited our options, but still we had more than enough space.
The absolute musts:
- Layers - conference venues tend to get really cold even if it's hot outside.
- Comfy shoes - getting into your place, going to lunch, walking to the parking spot - these venues tend to be large & you'll be most likely looking to attend some networking events or friendly get-togethers in the evenings, so make sure your feet are ready for it.
- Water bottle - check the venue rules about that though. We could only bring them empty, but there were water multiple filling stations inside the venue.
- Phone, iPad for taking pictures & making notes. However, make sure you know the rules of the venue & the organizer about electronic devices & taking pics.
- Pen - usually they do give them in the swag bags, but if you take a lot of notes, grab an additional one just to be safe.
What seats are the best?
Well, it totally depends on what you need & what's the offer.
Most of the conference venues don't have assigned seats, they have assigned zones. It's like going to a concert. So you can pick a seat within your zone. Usually, it means that you'll be sitting at a different seat every day.
For Rise there were a lot of options - terrace, terrace plus, general admission, general admission plus, premiere, VIP, etc. We got General Admission tickets, which were the most regular ones. But honestly, in this venue, even the cheap tickets were awesome. If you're there for the content & motivation -you'll get it in any of the seats.
Obviously, VIP tickets have their perks too - like additional panels, meals with the speakers, possibility to be coached, photo ops, priority entrance, etc. It's always good to compare the options and chose what is worth it for you at the point you're at.
Is there time for selfies with the speakers?
That depends on the type of your ticket. Usually only VIP tickets include the photo opportunities and not necessarily with all the speakers. Obviously, there's a chance you'll pass them at the corridor, airport or hotel where you may ask for a photo. Not that you don't know it, but make sure you always ask.
Do they make you dance or talk to strangers?
Okay, I hate that too. So I know how important it is to know. It totally depends on the conference. At RISE Business we did dance, and sporadically talked to strangers. But it didn't really feel awkward because everyone was doing it & people who come to those events are usually kinda nice.
The best advice came from Rachel. Her take on it was: when you go to event like this, just go all in, you can talk how weird it was in the car on your way back.
And honestly, you'd be surprised how normal those things will feel after the conference.
Is it scary to go solo?
I went with Michal because I thought he can benefit from the conference. But honestly, we were with other people most of the time. You sit next to someone, walk with someone else, meet people at the hotel, in the shuttle, & in the line to Starbucks. There are tons of meetups & events going on during lunch & dinner time. So if you come alone, you won't stay that way for too long.
If you have a chance join a FB group for the conference to connect before the even or even organize your own meetup with other people in your field. For example, during Rise Charleston, there was a couples night, networking events, Zumba class, 5k morning run, etc. So everyone could easily find a place to connect with others.
How are people getting to & from the venue?
We were either taking Uber, hotel shuttle or just walking. Some people had their cars. It's best to ask at the hotel. Because it's likely there will be tons of other attendees, some hotels were making their shuttles available in the morning and after the event. We liked taking a walk, because it usually meant meeting other people & getting to move a bit after long hours sitting in those chairs.
What about food?
That totally depends on the venue, ticket type, and organizer.
At RISE Business, there were 1.5 hrs lunch brakes when you had plenty of time to either grab something at the venue (not many options & really long lines), go out & grab something near by (you better be quick to avoid super long lines), or order food delivery (which we actually never did). We usually went out to places that are near by & even though we eat vegan, we didn't have a lot of issues to find some decent options.
VIP tickets had lunch included in the price of the ticket.
What you need to know before you go is what's included in your ticket, what options are available at the venue & if there are any restaurants within a walking distance. Again, best to do a little research before you go.
PS. If I ever meet you in person, pls don’t think I’m rude if I won’t remember you the next day.
And if you want to get the feeling of the conference, watch my stories for the snapshots!