15 Tips for Surviving NAB
NAB: that little acronym stands for the National Association of Broadcasters, the association that hosts the largest media conference in the world that goes by the same name. Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, the NAB trade show boasts an attendance of 150,000 people, offering members of the media, entertainment, and tech worlds a chance to mix and and mingle. It’s also where the hottest new filmmaking gear and technology debuts, leads are met, and deals are made. In other words, NAB provides amazing opportunities for learning and connecting, but it’s also kind of (read: really) intense.
Here are our tips for not only surviving NAB, but making the most of the conference.
1. Plan ahead and do your research
Ok, we’ve established that NAB is huge. Like, 1,013,544 square feet huge. So how can you hit all of the booths and shows and seminars? The answer is, you can’t. Do your research ahead of time on what you want to see and do, and make a list of places to hit—you can also do that on NAB’s app by marking certain exhibits as favorites. NAB has a handy map of exhibits and vendors, as well as a schedule of sessions and speakers, so check those out before you go. You can organize your route by category, location, timing, etc...just make sure you have a plan so you don’t spend hours lollygagging around. Time is precious at NAB—especially since you'll want to save some time to visit the Story & Heart booth for some tasty Oregon beer. :)
2. Save room for that $wag
When you’re packing, don’t overstuff your suitcase, especially if you want to take home some swag or prizes. On the same note, bring a vessel of sorts (messenger bag, backpack, leather tote, Grecian urn) to carry the stuff you may want to collect on the show floor. You’re bound to pick up fliers, pamphlets, t-shirts, and a plush keychain that you’ll never ever use, so be prepared and have a way to stash your swag. Alternately, skip the freebies—take pictures of pamphlets or business cards instead. That way, you’ll just be taking up space on your phone, and not in your bag.
3. Getting to and from the convention
NAB offers some discounts to get to and from the convention—even on plane tickets! Check out their discounts on rental cars, flights, and an airport shuttle service. You can also take the Las Vegas Monorail to the convention center from several stops on the strip, or hop on a shuttle service from many hotels and casinos. And as of October 2015, Uber is now available in Vegas!
4. Embrace the lanyard
Wear your badge like a badge of honor, proudly around your neck and suspended by that dorky lanyard. No one will judge you. Because if you lose your badge, it’ll cost you $50 to replace. And wouldn’t you rather spend that $50 on the slots, or a fancy dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill?
5. There’s an app for that
Look, an NAB app! With maps, ways to favorite the exhibits you want to hit, a schedule and speaker list, and more! The 2016 version is yet to arrive, but we’re sure it will. Download it asap.
6. Stay up-to-date on @what’s #happening
Follow @NABShow and #NABShow on the Twitterverse to stay up-to-date on the event happenings. And be sure to follow the accounts and hashtags of your favorite exhibitors, companies, and speakers to get conference news in real time.
7. Bring business cards…lots of cards.
A huge part of NAB is meeting people. Have cards ready, more than you’ll think you’ll need, and make sure all of the info on there is up to date. Once you get cards from other people, take notes on who’s who, especially on leads or connections you want to follow up with. Don’t have cards? Order them pronto from Moo.com or Visaprint.com.
8. Bring recharging supplies
To make it through the long days of NAB, you need to be prepared and have your recharge supplies ready. That means literally bring your phone charger (we’d recommend a portable, battery powered one), and also snacks and a water bottle (much better than constantly paying for bottled water). Hydration is key since you’ll be doing a lot of walking and talking, and bringing snacks will help prevent hanger after you’ve burned a million calories from walking those 11 soccer fields.
9. Dress to alleviate foot stress
NAB exhibits span 11 professional football fields (a sort of unimaginable distance, unless you are actually a professional soccer player), which means: Wear comfy shoes. You won’t regret it.
10. Build those skills
There are so many learning opportunities in the form of panels, seminars, and skill building sessions. Don’t have a pass that allows entry to the educational portion of NAB? There are plenty of free workshops on the exhibit floor itself.
11. Carry cash on you
Avoid outrageous A.T.M. transaction fees. Cash always comes in handy...for cabs, snacks, or the card table. Make sure you bring enough to last you for your stay so you don’t have to spend extra money to get money.
12. Pace yourself and drink responsibly
When at NAB, we recommend pacing yourself both energy-wise and alcohol-wise. You don’t want to burn out on the first day of the conference. Take breaks, take some time for yourself, and remember that it just isn’t possible to go to every single event. There’s stuff happening 24/7, but you need to prioritize what’s most important to you––it all goes back to planning ahead. There will also likely be a bevy of free beverages at NAB at all hours of the day. That isn’t to say you can’t have a beer, but remember to keep it classy.
13. Put your immune system on defense
When faced with 5 days of shaking endless hands and breathing the same air as 100,000 other germ-filled humans, your immune system may start to tremble in fear. To prevent it from completely collapsing, prepare: bring hand sanitizer, take vitamins, get rest, and don’t forget to hydrate.
14. Be nice
NAB is largely about meeting people and connecting with them. When you’re talking to people, remember to smile, and be nice! Who doesn’t want to talk to a nice, happy person? Plus, you’ll leave a lasting impression if you show genuine interest and enthusiasm when talking to people. Positivity is catching.
15. Have fun!
It’s cliche, we know. But seriously, enjoy yourself! NAB is a great opportunity to learn, connect, and see some fun new tech at work. But, it only happens once a year—so make the most of it.
Story & Heart at NAB 2016!
Our booth is located in the Central Hall, number C8312. Come say hi and grab a Oregon brew with us—we can’t wait to meet you!