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A newbie’s guide to Fusion

4 Sep 2018

Have you thought about what you want to get out of Fusion 2018?  There are many ways to make the most of Fusion. Follow Amanda Dennett’s advice for conference newbies.

F is for find a buddy. Spending time at a conference is much more enjoyable when you can share the experience with someone else! In Singapore, I met some lovely people from IABC Wellington that I chatted with throughout the conference, including at the social dinner at a hawker market. We had lots of laughs and shared some great food, and we’d only met 24 hours earlier!

U is for unique learning opportunity. I don’t know about you, but it’s rare for me to attend an industry conference where people from across the world are seated at your table, learning alongside you. Fusion offers you a detailed understanding of communication in the Asia Pacific region, with case studies you would not otherwise hear about. Learning how tactics used in Malaysia, Hong Kong or New Zealand could be adapted and applied to communications in Australia gives you a fresh perspective on comms that you can take back to your workplace.

S is for sharing on social. There will be plenty of share-worthy moments from the sessions you’ll attend. Follow the #Fusion18 hashtag to discover others at the conference, then make an effort to find them in person! There’s also the chance for you to develop your voice as a communication thought-leader by writing your perspective on a topic you hear about at the conference. Publishing on LinkedIn, or getting in touch with your IABC chapter to offer to write a blog post, is a great way to build your online profile and continue to make connections after the conference. Check out the blog I wrote about Fusion 2017.

I is for inquisitiveness. At Fusion, you’ll meet comms pros at all stages of their career – those early in their career, communication executives, those communicating for big business or government, and freelance communicators. No matter who you end up chatting with over afternoon tea, remember to be inquisitive and ask questions. Why did they choose comms as a career? What is the campaign or project they’re most proud of? What do they do to get most out of their IABC membership? It can be tiring chatting to new people at a conference but, by making the effort to ask questions, you’ll learn tips and ideas for your own career.

O is for offer to follow up. Accept that business card and offer your own in return. Add new connections on LinkedIn, follow on Twitter and send that follow-up email. One of the key benefits of IABC membership is that you’re connected with a global group of communication professionals, who are keen to help one another learn and advance the profession. Who knows, on a future trip overseas you may be able to drop in on a local IABC event to expand your connections and career opportunities.

N is for name tags. This is a daggy tip but it’s so important for reducing conference-related awkwardness! We will all receive a name tag at the conference and I’d like to make a group pact that we all wear them throughout, preventing the horror of spending half a day chatting to someone having totally forgotten their name! Who’s with me?

If you’re planning to attend Fusion in Melbourne, give me a shout out on Twitter and say hi! Hope to meet plenty of IABC newbies there.

Amanda Dennett is the Head of Digital Experience at the Australian War Memorial. She is a board member for our chapter, and holds the position of Director of Membership and Member Communications. 

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