How to Prepare for (and Make the Most of) Slate Summit
Technolutions’ Slate Summit is upon us and if it’s your first or fifth time going, it’s sure to be an event full of innovative ideas, excellent networking and many opportunities to take your institution’s instance to the next level. For all of that excitement and opportunity, the Summit can actually be a fairly overwhelming experience (in a positive sense). Here are five tips to help your team get the most out of this incredible event:
This goes without saying for any conference, but before your plane lands or your wheels cross into Chicago, start to think about this conference strategically and map it all out. This year Technolutions is offering more tracks than ever before, including Slate Interactive, in-depth sessions led by Technolutions team members geared at helping you trick out your system. These sessions span existing and new features, so depending on where you are in your implementation and use of Slate, think strategically about the projects currently at hand and don’t jump into a session on portals if you haven’t even brought an inquiry form live yet.
Divide and Conquer.
There are only so many people on your team. Decide in advance how you’ll split up the sessions. Each time slot has between five and eight sessions to choose from, so decision paralysis is real. Split up by role and take serious notes. While it might be great to have a colleague next to you to discuss what you’re hearing on stage, sessions are only 45 minutes long. Make your goal to collect the information, ideas and contacts.
With that said, make sure you’re taking notes! It’s easy to get lost in what’s being shown on screen, but don’t forget to write down what you’re hearing. While Technolutions makes the presentations available after the conference, you don’t get the exact same content or context as you do while you’re in the room. If you have questions, make sure to utilize the Q&A, but also make a bulleted list. The presenters are incredibly accessible and they’re presenting at Summit because they want to share what they’ve done. Reach out after Summit and make a new friend.
There will be nearly 2,500 (or more) professionals from more than 750 institutions and programs. If you don’t utilize this opportunity to make new connections, you’re missing out on one of the best professional networking opportunities of the year. In my opinion, the Slate Community is one of the best “features” you get when you buy this tool. The level of idea sharing, the enthusiasm of users and the collegiality of peers is something to be admired. You’re a part of that. Make the most of it.
Breathe and Process.
There’s a lot to take in. A lot. Don’t let yourself feel overwhelmed. Like any conference, the presentations represent some of the best processes and ideas that institutions have put into practice. If you don’t have your instance built out yet, don’t stress. You’re there to learn and you don’t have to leave with all of the answers. Institutions implement at vastly different rates and the skillsets of individuals on teams varies drastically. If you’re heading into year two or beyond with Slate, you’re also in the middle of Cycle Prep. Get that done! Give yourself a few months to dive into the new features and amazing ideas you’ll take away from Summit.
If you’re interested in chatting during your time at Summit, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.