What to pack & how to prepare for the SiriusDecisions Summit #sdsummit


The spring B2B conference season has been quite busy and may be winding down, but next week’s SiriusDecisions Summit is often the highlight of my year in terms of events.  Unprecedented content, attendees, networking, learning and more.

I distinctly remember preparing for my first SiriusDecisions Summit a few years ago, and asking veteran attendees for advice. Below are a combination of their recommendations as well as those from my own experience.  These can apply of course to almost any event, but are in my opinion particularly important for an event of this caliber.

What to bring

  • Three times the business cards you think you’ll need: The last thing you want to do at any event is run out of cards when someone important (a prospect, potential partner, Sirius analyst, etc.) wants to follow-up with you.  It seriously takes little extra room in your suitcase to bring far more than you think you’ll need.  You just never know.
  • Something fancy and green: Last year’s awards gala was epic, in part because Eddie Money sang Two Tickets to Paradise live and brought a few other 80’s musical headliners with him.  This year’s gala Wednesday night will feature the Neon Trees and is being called a Green Tie Gala.  Tie, pocket square, ascott, whatever.  They’re calling for more rock-and-roll attire than tuxedo, but come in green.
  • Better shoes & socks: This isn’t Dreamforce, but you’ll be on your feet a lot (including the evening networking events and parties).  Dress to kill, but not your poor feet please.
  • Advil: No reason. Just because….

How to prepare

  • Clear your schedule: You don’t want to spend half your time back in the hotel room on conference calls for meetings you could have taken from the home office. This is a great conference, an expensive conference, and is packed with too much value to miss.  It’s incredibly difficult to suspend your work life for a whole week, but consider treating it like a vacation.  Check in if and when necessary but focus on why you’re there.
  • Set up HootSuite in advance on all devices: Create the #sdsummit hashtag on your laptop and mobile device. Start following participants and engaging in conversations early. Set up meetings with those who are already sharing content and ideas.
  • Develop a note-taking strategy in advance: Are you going to take hand-written notes or use Evernote? Are you taking notes for yourself or for your team back at the office? How will you capture to-do’s and make those notes usable afterward? Here’s a look at my typical event note-taking strategy, but I highly recommend having a strategy developed in advance to convert more of this conference’s great ideas and inspirations into action the following week and beyond.
  • Download the conference app now: Get it set up and customized with your session & break-out schedule now vs. fumbling with it on site.
  • Plan your Thursday break-out schedule: 35 sessions in 9 tracks.  Fortunately, Sirius has organized them by role to help maximize your time.  Check it.
  • Create your out-of-office message: Prep your team that you’ll be mostly out of touch, and be clear in your email out-of-office message that you’ll get back to them by the end of the week, but likely not before.

What have I missed? What would you add?

See you in Nashville!