This post was originally published in 2016.
It has been updated with links and information related to She Speaks 2017.
Less than THREE weeks until we all get together for the She Speaks conference!! Are you getting excited? I know am! Or, more precisely, I WILL be after I have crossed off all the to-do’s. Whether you are going to She Speaks, Declare or one of the other amazing writing conferences this summer, it’s time to start packing. So let’s run through some things that may be on your mind in these final days of preparation.
What to Wear
- The She Speaks website has one of my favorite oxymorons … “dressy-casual”. Ha! That cracks me up every time. You’ll see a wide range of dress. Slacks, skirts, nice jeans with a dressy top, nice sandals or flip flops. Something a little nicer or more professional that reflects your personality for publisher meetings. I would discourage shorts, your favorite graphic tee and any footwear made of plastic. 🙂
- Tuck a sweater, shawl or wrap into your bag. The workshop rooms are quite chilly.
- Comfy shoes are important. There is a surpising amount of walking between conference rooms, meals and appointments.
- For more hints on what to wear, watch the promo video on the She Speaks website and notice what people are wearing!
Accommodations and Facilities at Embassy Suites
- The rooms are spacious so you and your room mate will have plenty of room to spread out and make yourselves at home.
- The conference includes lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday, but no meals on Thursday if you are there for the pre-conference, and no breakfasts. Your room at Embassy Suites includes breakfast at a huge and delicious breakfast buffet. If you are not staying at the Embassy, you can come for breakfast, but it is about $16 for the buffet. There is also a Starbucks in the lobby. The line gets long, so bring some snacks for the afternoon.
- For dinners that are not included in the conference, there is a nice restaurant in the hotel, and several restaurants nearby, but none within walking distance.
- There is free wi-fi in the hotel lobby, but no wi-fi in the conference and workshop rooms. Wi-fi in the sleeping rooms is NOT free, unless you are a Hilton Honors member. So before you go, make sure someone from your room signs up for the program. It’s free and you can do it here: Hilton Honors Program
- Bring an external charger pack for your phone if you have one. There is so much going on, you may not have time to go back to your room to charge up, especially if you are somewhere other than the Embassy. Carrying your own power will keep you from searching around for a plug and worst of all, leaving your phone in that corner next to an outlet you used during a session.
- If you are short on memory in your devices, go through and make some space before you come. There will be lots of photo ops with new friends, presenters and authors. Plus, when the presenter is going too fast for you to take notes, you can take pictures of their slides to refer to later.
Navigating the Conference
- Proverbs 31 will have a bookstore at the conference and several of the sponsors will have items available for purchase. Scroll down the She Speaks home page to see the sponsors for this year. I love the necklace I bought from Karama Collection last year and can’t wait to add something sparkly to it! The bookstore and most of the sponsors accepted cards. You really don’t need much cash … mainly for tipping the hotel staff and in case you share meals with people and need to split a check.
- You will receive a tote bag with your conference materials. It is a nice, handy little bag but I recommend bringing your own. Do you know how hard it is to find your stuff when 800 other women have the exact same bag as you??? Plus I feel more organized and comfortable when I have a place (or pocket) for everything and everything in its place. AND if you bring an empty tote bag with you, you’ll have a place for the goodies you accumulate!
- Think about your note-taking strategy ahead of time. Your conference notebook has space to take notes, but you may need additional space to write for some sessions. You may also prefer to take notes on your laptop or tablet, but there are no tables in the workshop rooms, so you’ll be balancing it on your lap.
- Try marking things in your notes as you go (or by reviewing your notes at night) to help you find them later. Use sticky flags or different colored highlighters or special symbols to mark important things you want to come back to. For example, you might mark Things to Do with a square check box, good ideas to consider with a star, questions to ask with a big question mark, etc. When you get home, it can be very intimidating to go back through all those notes again, so having specific things to focus on will make it a bit easier.
- Seating is open at all sessions, workshops and meals. Maximize your networking time by sitting with someone new every time!
- Your conference materials will include a personalized schedule showing the sessions you signed up to attend. You may also have other planned events like publisher appointments, meet-ups and luncheons. Check the resource section below for a downloadable packing checklist and schedule planner to map out your days at She Speaks. Go ahead and fill in the Do A New Thing networking breakfast on Saturday morning for those following along with this series!
What other questions do you have? I certainly don’t know all the answers, but I’ll try to find them or send you to the right person!