Almost seven years ago, I attended my first ACFE Global Fraud Conference after working at the ACFE for one week. To say I was nervous would be a gross understatement. I am typically a very outgoing person (some would say too outgoing with my opinions), but when I am in a group of people I don’t know or am somewhat intimidated by, I curl up in a tiny ball like a roly poly. I was determined to not let my default ways get the best of me, and I knew that my new role at the ACFE would be tested by the way I handled myself in group settings. So, with weak knees and some self-made confidence, I stepped off the plane in Washington, D.C. to face the beast that is the largest anti-fraud conference in the world.
Here is what I learned:
- Do your prep work. If you’re an ACFE member, once you registered for the conference, you were added to the ACFE Community’s conference group. If you aren’t a member yet, you can join the ACFE's LinkedIn group. Use one of both of these groups to scope out who is in Nashville at the conference. It is okay to stalk for professional contacts and future best friends. It's not creepy when it could help you solve a case one day.
- Dress for success, and by success I mean a parka and memory foam slippers. No really, it gets cold in convention centers and you need to be comfortable. Bring a jacket or sweater, and wear comfortable shoes that will support you walking, standing and sitting. Also, there will be cameras and you will be meeting tons of new people, so look like you are at least a little bit famous. Not too famous, but kind of famous. Think Donny Walberg or Paula Abdul.
- Take a step outside of your comfort zone. If you prefer face-to-face networking, try out the Conference App to connect with someone from your city or industry. If you only prefer to meet people online, take a deep breath, pop an Altoid in your mouth and go to an in-person event. You have nothing to lose, except those few hours of Seinfeld reruns you thought about watching in your hotel room. And, trust me, those episodes will be on again. Here are just a few of the in-person networking events you can try out:
- First-Time Attendee and New Member Reception: Sunday, June 18 from 6-6:45 p.m.
- Women’s Networking Reception: Sunday, June 18 from 5:30-7 p.m. (SOLD OUT)
- Welcome Reception: Sunday, June 18 from 7-9 p.m.
- Industry-specific tables at all General Sessions: June 19-21
- Attendee Networking Reception: Tuesday, June 20 from 5-6 p.m.
- Nashville Chapter Networking Event: Tuesday, June 20 at 7 p.m. Secure your spot.
- Social Networking Lounge in the Exhibit Hall: Stop by the lounge to play Giant Jenga or challenge a friend to a friendly game of cornhole.
The list above is only a few of the ways you can network with other attendees at the ACFE Global Fraud Conference. Visit FraudConference.com for more information and to plan your conference.