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The Offshore Technology Conference is the biggest event of the year in Houston for those in the Energy business. Many of our members are old hands, but for some this will be the first time at what can be a very daunting and overwhelming conference.

This will be my 13th conference and, boy, did I have to learn the hard way.  I'd like to share some tips I've learned on managing your week whether you're exhibiting, attending or just involved in the peripheral events.

Your OTC kit is your life, especially if you are an attendee or exhibitor. We're lucky these days. A lot of the things we used to carry hard copies of are now on our cell phones or tablets. USE THESE DEVICES.  

Stop right now and download the OTC app, Offshore Technology Conference 2017. You can schedule appointments and events in advance, find friends, and search for exhibitors to map out your day in advance saving time. 

you're going for just a couple of hours one day, your devices are about all you need. However, if you're planning a full day or several days make sure you have the essentials.

1. Your ID and a couple of copies carried in different places. Crowds = things getting lost or nicked.

2.  Plastic money for most things. Cash for parking. If you're going for several days invest in an in-and-out parking pass. OR, take advantage of the light rail park and ride.  Metro is offering a 4 day OTC pass. 

3. Business cards are your best friend at OTC. Be sure to check your stock now and re-stock every night.

4. Snacks. Seriously. Stick a protein bar in your pocket or your bag for that mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick me up. You will thank me when you see the long lines at Starbucks.

5. That brings me to lunch. Two words. Sticker shock. If you're on an expense account, awesome! If you're own your own, OMG! If you're going for a half day, unless you are going to attend a topical lunch on site, make sure that half is either before or after lunch. You're wallet will appreciate it. 

6. Dress for OTC. You want to look professional, but you want to be comfortable. Ladies, if you insist on wearing heels, tuck some ballet slippers in your kit. Guys, OTC is not the place to break in new shoes or boots. 

7. Small, light weight umbrella, an essential for your kit. It's Houston, say no more.

8. Picking up promo items from exhibitors. Remember, you'll have to carry them around. 

9. Bring a charger or charger bank for your devices. Although NRG has said they've upgraded their network, expect to have to go outside at times to get a decent signal.

Don't discount the many offsite events that occur during OTC. There are a plethora of topical breakfasts, luncheons and evening networking events. You'll never have a better opportunity to meet the people important to your business. You may find it's not necessary for you to attend the conference at all.

If you do go to NRG Park, remember to leave plenty of time for travel to your evening events. Traffic is an absolute bear as the conference shuts down and folks head to the Galleria area where many events are held. It's a good strategy to schedule off site appointments during peak traffic hours so you're doing business while everyone else is traveling.

Finally, make BABC one of your resources for the conference.  I will be available for OTC on site meetings on Tuesday, 2nd May, from 10 am to 3 pm. Or, I can do offsite meetings in the Galleria area Monday, Wednesday or Thursday. Just call 832.351.3940 to make your appointment.