Will this be your first year attending the ASTD International Conference & Exposition as a CPLP? If it is, this article is meant for you! (Even if you’ve been a CPLP for a few years, you may still get some good ideas.) The following are some tips about how to maximize your experience at the conference.
First and foremost, we all know that planning and preparation are absolutely key for a successful learning initiative. This is true for a successful ASTD 2014 experience as a CPLP as well. Using the Schedule at a Glance from the conference website as a guide, start putting together your itinerary for the week. Be sure to plug in special CPLP events and locations. Note which sessions you plan to attend, when you’ll visit the EXPO floor, and your networking time. Be sure to include down time to rest, reflect, and plan on how you’ll apply your learning as well. Personally, I like to print this guide out and mark it up with my events. I even plug all the events into my Google calendar, so I have easy access to it on my smart phone or tablet during the conference.
To ensure you are in the loop on the special CPLP events, watch your email and social media for messages from Virginia Sawall and the ASTD Certification Institute (ASTD CI) team. You can also view these events on the ASTD conference site. It’s like being invited to a red carpet party; your name will be on the list to allow you access to these events. Two CPLP-only events you don’t want to miss include:
- CPLP Speaker Forum—Sunday, 8 – 10:30 a.m. in Room 158 of the Convention Center. Gain private access to legends such as Bob Pike and Elaine Biech, who share their wisdom and perspectives with the future leaders of our profession (Yes, that’s us—the CPLPs!)
- CPLP Networking Reception—Monday, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. in The West Overlook on Level Two. Not only do you get free food and drink, which is a bonus at any conference, you get to hobnob with the other CPLP cool kids.
These are excellent gatherings to get to know your fellow CPLPs, get perspective on our profession from learning leaders, and get special treatment by ASTD for your commitment to the profession. Plus, they are fun! As you prepare to attend these events, think about if there are any CPLPs you especially want to meet. Perhaps you’ve read some of their content on social media, read their books, heard them present, heard their names in professional circles—however you’ve heard of them, these are the events to meet them face-to-face and get that opportunity for a one-on-one conversation (or at least the chance to schedule a future conversation). These events are fast moving and CPLPs always have 1,000 things to do and places to be during this premier event of the training industry, so you want to be intentional about who you want to meet and want you want to discuss.
Beyond the CPLP-only events, there are some special CPLP spaces to check out.
- The CPLP Lounge (Room 159) is a prime spot to meet fellow CPLPs and ASTD CI staff. Check the ASTD 2014 CPLP schedule for the “open” hours. Not only will you get a chance to chat with seasoned and new CPLPs in the lounge, but you’ll also get a gift from ASTD! The CPLP Lounge can also be that special haven for quiet reflection time, a private conversation, or just a chance to take a breath and re-group before moving on to your next conference session.
- Okay, before I even tell you about this next one, I have to say that what’s next is rather awesome and almost pays off for all that hard work you put into preparing for the Knowledge Exam and your Work Product! Have you ever been walking into the conference keynote session, felt overwhelmed by the crowd and wondered, “Where am I ever going to find a seat—one where the presenter looks bigger than a stylus tip?” Well, this is a special perk of being a CPLP that will solve that challenge for you forever! As CPLPs, ASTD has honored us by granting special up-front seating for the conference general sessions. All you have to do is arrive by 7:45 a.m. and go up front, looking for the CPLP flag. You’ll get some of the best seats in the house, and possibly get to mingle with the ASTD International Board of Directors and other VIPs sitting in these prime seats as well.
- Visit the CPLP Information Booth in ASTD Central on the EXPO floor. You never know who you’ll find there or what you might learn at this booth.
Of course CPLPs will be everywhere during ASTD 2014. How will you know them when you see them? There will be a few identifiers you’ll want to look for: • While CPLPs often have multiple conference ribbons (such as presenter, Chapter Leader, volunteer), you want to proudly wear your CPLP ribbon near the top and watch for that ribbon on others to identify your fellow learning professionals. This is one of the ribbons that you hang down from your badge during the conference. You can pick up your CPLP conference ribbon from the CPLP Lounge (Room 159).
• Look for either an inaugural CPLP lapel pin or the commemorative CPLP pins, which ASTD started distributing in 2013. Only CPLPs will wear these pins.
• Watch for CPLP bling! Kimberly Seeger, a CPLP pilot pioneer from Louisiana, whose daughter was heavily involved in dance, created the CPLP rhinestone bling pins you’ll see around the conference. Kim is active in the social media world, so get in touch with her as soon as possible to find out how to obtain one of these coveted pins!
Finally, no matter where you end up at ASTD 2014, who you are talking with, or what you are doing be ready to BE A ROCK STAR! One thing I’ve learned since attaining my CPLP as a pilot pioneer in 2004—people recognize the importance and prestige of this accomplishment. Don’t be surprised when people identify you as a CPLP and ask you questions, seek your advice about growing as a learning professional, and congratulate you. In fact, let me be one of the first—congratulations on achieving your CPLP! I look forward to meeting you at ASTD 2014 and evolving in our profession together.
Join more than 9,000 of your learning colleagues from around the globe in Washington, D.C., May 4-7, 2014, to share best practices and insights at the ASTD 2014 International Conference & Exposition.