How To Survive Sage Summit: A Quick Guide for Attendees
Every year the Sage community comes together at Sage Summit to discuss ideas, learn new features, get business tips, gain insight into their unique industries, and perhaps most importantly, catch up with their comrades.
A few years ago we shared some insider tips to prepare our colleagues and clients for their first Summit. Now a few years later, as I prepare for my lucky Summit #7, those tips still apply so let’s refresh your memory. Hopefully these Sage Summit tips will help you have a great conference experience:
1) BRING A SWEATER (YES, EVEN IF YOU ARE A STRONG BURLY PERSON)
Sage Summit 2017 is late Spring/early Summer, so you would think warm weather attire right? Decidedly wrong. Most of the time, you will be indoors, and the majority of that in a large conference center offering central air conditioning that likes to show off just how cold it can get.
While essential and refreshing at first, after 6 hours even the burliest of us have been known to comment on the chilliness. In case you end up in an arctic break out room, carry a sweater or suit jacket so you can still soak in the content.
2) TURN ON YOUR “OUT OF OFFICE” AUTO-REPLY.
The first year I attended Summit I thought “Sure, I’ll be in sessions most of the time, but there will be breaks throughout the day, before dinner, and of course after dinner relaxing in the hotel room.” I could not have been more wrong. While there are technically breaks during the day (sometimes with cookies!), they are fairly short and really just give you time to get to the next session or have a chat with new acquaintances.
Meals turn out to be the best networking time and there are usually networking events each night, so most people rarely head back to their hotel room early enough to get much work done. Save your sanity and set up that auto-response email on the flight in.
3) PLAN YOUR SESSION SCHEDULE AHEAD OF TIME.
The schedule can be a bit overwhelming so a lot of people leave their session planning to the day they arrive and go through the print copy in person. By that point though, there’s so much going on and a number of the sessions are already be fully booked, so you almost certainly end up missing a few key ones.
The Session Catalog isn’t quite available yet, but take the time before you go to review it and plan out when & where you want to be. It will make the entire experience calmer and more productive, I promise.
4) DON’T SHOW UP TIRED.
Flights aren’t always at the most convenient times and we’re usually busy getting things done the week before we go away, but if it’s at all possible, don’t show up tired. You’ll be shooting yourself in the foot and starting the week off a level below the crowd. Like starting a new video game level, you want to show up with full life bars.
5) DRINK WATER.
The above mentioned non-stop air conditioning will dry you out. That combined with more talking than most of us generally do in a day (and most likely an increase in coffee, cookie, and alcohol consumption), means you have a high chance of becoming dehydrated.
My saving grace for the past 6 years has been drinking water at every opportunity. It will keep you feeling healthy and, perhaps more importantly at a 3-4 day event, it will keep your energy level up more than extra caffeine.
6) EAT, WHENEVER POSSIBLE.
The days are long and the open bars are usually flowing in the evening, so while you might really want that extra 15 minutes of sleep in the morning – don’t skip breakfast. Don’t skip any meal. The food is always good with lots of variety – I mentioned the cookies, right?
Don’t try to go at it on an empty stomach. Your brain will need the food fuel even if you’re not partaking in the open bars, trust me.
7) STANDARD TRADE SHOW RULES APPLY.
This means your packing list must include:
- comfortable shoes (even if I may be known for ignoring this one)
- gum/breathe mints
- business cards
- portable phone charger if possible
Mine generally also includes eye drops, hand sanitizer, lip balm, and a sewing kit, but I’m a bit of a Type A.
8) REMEMBER: WHAT HAPPENS AT SUMMIT DOES NOT STAY AT SUMMIT.
We all work together and it’s a fairly tight-knit industry, so try to keep that in mind as things can start to snowball. People can sometimes get a little carried away in public debates, a little too cavalier discussing potentially private information in a busy hallway, or a little too inebriated and talk their way out of a potential job.
Not to say we can’t all relax and let loose, but keep in mind that your coworkers will go home with you and you’ll most likely see a lot of these people again – it’s a small world!
9) HAVE FUN!!
All of the other tips really lead to making this one possible. It is a business trip, yes, but it is also one of the most fun conferences I attend all year and our entire team always has a good time (and some great stories!). Go to the evening networking cocktails, attend as many sessions as you can, keep an eye out for the cookies, and make sure to meet some new people. If this isn’t an easy thing for you – feel free to find us!
The Answer Company team will happily take you under its wing and introduce you to people, whether you want to meet Sage staff, Sage partners, or fellow Sage users. Feel free to email me, Krista Magnusson, to meet up at Summit!