From Rookie to Pro: Key Takeaways From Working a Conference

working a conference

Recently, I had the privilege of traveling to San Francisco to work the 2018 RSA Conference with my fellow SHIFTers. As a rookie on an extremely established and experienced account, I was unsure what to expect while attending the conference. Was there enough coffee in the world to prepare me? Fortunately, yes. However, I did learn some exciting tips and tricks while navigating the conference that I think will help prepare any PR professional for success while running a large event.

Collaboration

With an event as large as RSA Conference, collaboration is key. While coordinating and communicating with other SHIFT Austin team members was a process I was familiar with, RSA Conference offered me the opportunity to cross-team with SHIFTer’s from other offices. Cross-teaming proved to be an extremely useful resource before, during and after the event as team members I had not yet had the privilege to work with offered their professional services and support. Additionally, partnering with SHIFTers from various locations presented great insight into tips and techniques that other SHIFT offices had implemented within their own reporting programs that I had not yet considered.

Trusting the Team

While I believe SHIFT has always offered great support and encouragement among team members, joining forces during conference led to a professional bond of trust and confidence in one another. With responsibilities and expectations as large as RSA Conference, communication and a little faith went a long way. Consequently, this developed trust has remained present in the office and has resulted in more efficient and effective team work for both RSA Conference and other client activities.

Eyes on the Prize

My primary role during RSA Conference was to monitor and track coverage that pertained to exhibitors, trends and the event itself. While monitoring coverage and tracking industry trends falls under my day-to-day activities within the Austin office, reporting on coverage for RSA Conference was a challenge I was excited to take on. Although it was hard to prepare for the amount of coverage I would be tracking over the course of the event, my SHIFT team offered an enormous amount of support through the process. Ultimately, I believe my reporting responsibilities during conference resulted in a significant amount of professional development within my Account Coordinator role. Crucial to the success of the coverage report, I learned how to better manage my time, prioritize duties and communicate with others.

 

The SHIFT Network

Located outside of the press room, I had the opportunity to meet and greet reporters I have reached out to and developed relationships with over time. Not only was it exciting to put a face to the name, but engaging in in-person conversations with journalists whose work I admire was extremely rewarding. In fact, many reporters were excited to see the SHIFT team and several spent minutes with us, discussing their conference experience. Additionally, watching leaders from SHIFT engage with reporters and industry influencers offered great insight into cultivating relationships and fostering supportive, beneficial connections for future media opportunities.

While preparation and onsite activities were busy to say the least, it was an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. Through early mornings, late nights and unexpected events, I grew closer with my SHIFT Austin team members and even had the pleasure of working with SHIFTers from other offices. The experience and insight I gained from working the RSA Conference was invaluable and something I can carry with me for future event opportunities. RSAC 2019, here we come!

McKenna Robertson
Account Coordinator

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Posted on June 22, 2018 in Agency Life, Client, Culture, Events, Learning

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