So there’s a lot of buzz about the 2013 Israeli Presidential Conference and I am excited to be blogging once again for both the Times of Israel and the Jerusalem Business Networking Forum.
Naomi Elbinger recently wrote about what she’s looking forward to and now that I am a “seasoned veteran” of this conference, I know a little more about what to expect.
So without further ado, here are my top tips for Israeli Presidential Conference virgins (yes, I just put “virgins” into the same sentence as “Israeli Presidential Conference”).

1.    Come early.  Every conference planner tells you to get to their conference early. However, most people here in Israel excel at being, *ahem*, fashionably late.  That doesn’t roll when you have President Shimon Peres and former President William Clinton at the same conference, let alone Dr. Ruth Westheimer.    Come early, get settled, and leave yourself a little time to schmooze with the folks around you.

2.    Don’t bring a big backpack or laptop bag. I made this mistake last year. There is nowhere to put it except under your chair at sessions.  You will forget it there and then someone will think it is a “suspicious object”. Or you will end up just hurting your back needlessly. Bring a small handbag or shoulder bag.

3.    Timing is everything. If you have to leave a session a little earlier so you don’t have to stand in line at the bathrooms, so be it. I learned this one the hard way. Enough said.

4.    Network, network, network. Even if you are not the “life of the party” type, make small talk everywhere you go. I was standing in line to register at last year’s conference and I found myself next to a VP of Google UK!   Also, pay attention to everyone’s name tags.  Speakers at this conference have a tag that says “speaker” on their name tag in a different color than other participants.  Want to get some good PR for your organization? Members of the press (including bloggers!) carry press passes of a different color inside their name tag holders too! Seriously, you never know who will be next to you at the President’s Conference!

5.    Bring your own grub. You can buy food at the conference, but as with other events of this type, the food can be a bit expensive and the lines can be long depending on how quickly you get there.  Those who have special dietary needs or allergies may also have a problem. When in doubt, it’s quicker and easier to bring your own food so you can eat when you want. Also, you will have more time to schmooze and set up lunch meetings!

6.    Don’t forget your business cards. In the age of smartphones, we are aware that these are becoming obsolete. However, not everyone is moving at the speed of light like you are. Make sure to pack at least 100 business cards into your bag in the morning.  I went through at least this many at the conference. Also, be sure to have a place to put the cards you collect. Make notes on the cards you receive from others about the person and where you met them if you will not remember later!

7.    Dress to impress.  Yes, you want to make a statement, but falling over yourself because you chose to wear stilettos is just not worth it. Business casual clothes should do the trick. Don’t wear sneakers, but DO wear sensible shoes. The International Convention Center in Jerusalem is huge and while you will also sit in sessions, you will also do a lot of walking between the venues.

8.    Where’s Waldo?  Have someone you would like to meet at this conference? Use a networking app like Bizzabo (made in Israel, baby!) to see who is coming to the event and be sure to “check in” every morning so that people can find you. Also be sure to stay on top of social media (#Tomorrow13 !!! on Twitter) to find out what’s really going on at the conference.

9.    Have fun!  Do I really need to explain this to you?

More questions? Leave me some comment love below :)