I'm heading to Indianapolis this week for the fourth (and final) Influence Conference. I thought I'd share a few quick tips for making the MOST out of the Influence Conference.
1. Arrive ready for God to work.
This weekend is ALL about getting filled up! So feel free to arrive as energized or tired as you are. Arrive ready to talk or ready to listen. Mostly though? Arrive ready for the Lord to do a work in your heart. I’ve been taking time whenever I think about the conference to pray for specific women I know who are going. I don’t want this weekend to just be about me. I want God to do work for everybody, and I’m hugely expectant that He will. Pray with me for that.
2. Introduce yourself (and don’t get hurt if someone doesn’t know/remember your name).
I’ll bet if you got all of the people you know on the internet in a room, you could list off all of their names. But me? I don’t think I could. I could name the ones who I’ve connected with a lot but the people who I haven’t connected a lot with? Probably not. So I’m already planning to introduce myself and say my name, and smile awkwardly when I forget a name, and forgive (aka not even get hurt by) anybody who forgets my name.
Names matter. Once I’ve got to know you, I’m going to work my hardest to remember your name. So come on over and introduce yourself!
3. Pack what you love.
This is a conference where you can come as yourself. Dress in clothes you like. You don’t have to dress to impress because you’re among family, but if you’re like me, you’ll feel your best if you wear clothes that you love, that fit well, and that are easily coordinated. So I’d suggest packing in entire outfits so that when you wake up, the least of your worries is your clothes. (More tips for packing here.)
I’m also planning to buy dry shampoo (this is my current fave brand) about half a second after I arrive. I can’t bring it on my carry-on but dry shampoo is what I think God made on the eighth day sooooo I’ll snag some because I want to stay up late and get up early to make the most of every minute I’m there. Speaking of sleep...
4. Sleep someday.
I think the year I went someone suggested people sleep lots to make the most of the day. I say pish-posh to that. Sleep someday. Stay up! Get up early! Make early dates for coffee before breakfast. Find some people who are night-owls (or from the west coast like me so not tired yet when the east coasters want to sleep) and go for a drink. One night I wasn’t tired so I just wandered the halls of the hotel until I found conference gals. I didn’t know them very well (I’m probably met them that morning), but I sat down with them and enjoyed conversation until we were tired.
OR? Say you only cope with lots of sleep? Communicate with your roomies so that they know you’ll be going to bed early, and maybe choose to not get grumpy when they wake you up when they wander in later.
5. Figure out your thriving strategy.
Prepare for moments of overwhelm. I'm an extrovert and I get energy from people but sometimes I can still get overwhelmed in big groups. I thrive in one on ones and small groups. Crowds make me feel a bit done. So if you need a minute, take it. Don't be afraid to take the time you need. But also? Don't take too much time! I would sometimes snag a corner of a room and sit alone for five minutes. I'd usually feel topped up by that quick break of some big breathes. Then I’d stand up and find my friends again. Do what you got to do to be at your best, and prepare your heart already. And know that you’re not alone. We are all away from our home and away from our norms. And if your love language is getting a hug when you’re overwhelmed because it’ll make you feel better? Find me! Tight hugs that make you feel better are apparently my specialty. ;)
6. Invite yourself in.
You know how when you’re at your sister’s house, you walk right in? Maybe you knock, but you open the door before you’re let in. You know where the glasses are so you pour your own drink. Think of the conference like that. This is a space you’re already invited to! You don’t have to act like you’re on the outside because you’re not! You are a part of what God is doing this week, so join in! Invite yourself with people going for dinner. Ask someone to sit with you. Invite someone to go for coffee. Unless you actually want to be alone, there's no reason you can't find some friends!
7. Be ON your phone.
Most of the time, it's rude to be on your phone while somebody is talking. But at this conference? Be on your phone! Live tweet a session. Instagram a shot of the speaker. Ask the gals at your table to squeeze together for an Ellen style selfie. Seriously! Take all the pictures! Overpost! Get it girl!
That pic below? That's me selfie-ing at the conference two years ago! You'd better believe I'll be all over Instagram (( @nadinewouldsay )) posting updates of all the fun happenings!
That's it! If you've got any questions about how to make the most of the conference, ask away! And if you've got some tips, share them too! AND!! Let me know if I'll be seeing you there this week. I hope so!