If you’re attending or planning to attend World Domination Summit and are curious about what to do and plan for while you’re there to get the most out of your experience, this 23-step checklist for World Domination will help you.
Last year was my first time attending WDS and like many others attending for the first time, I had no idea going into it what to expect and how to make the most of this one of a kind experience.
With so many meet-ups, academies, and all different sorts of activities to choose from (which by the way are all awesome), it’s tough to decide on what to do and not do.
Then there’s all the wonderful speakers and attendees, some of which you may know and hope to meet.
It can feel overwhelming (I know it did for me). That’s why I’ve created this checklist that’ll help you to plan ahead and be ready to make your WDS experience an awesome one.
You ready… here we go!
23-Step WDS Checklist
1) Where To Stay
Luckily because of where WDS is held (Schnitzer Theater), there’s several options for accommodations.
Last year I opted to stay at The Heathman Hotel which was great for convenience purposes being that it’s right next door to the Schnitzer Theater. It’s pricey. Each night cost me just north of $300 per night. Same goes for The Nines – sweet place, but pricey.
This year I decided to go with Airbnb to book my accommodations.
I highly encourage this option.
Not only is it a better deal than staying at the larger more expensive hotels, but you’ll get a much more local and personal experience (and make some new local friends too).
If you’ve never tried Airbnb, you definitely have to give it a try – you’ll love it!
Here’s some help to get you started.
The link below will get you $25 in free travel credit on your first Airbnb trip.
It takes less than a minute to create a free account.
2) Business Cards
Some people will tell you that having business cards at WDS isn’t cool, that it’s not that type of event.
It definitely isn’t your typically conference where everyone’s main focus is to network and hand out as many business cards and collect them as possible.
If that’s what you’re looking for, WDS isn’t it.
I suggest bringing business cards with you. Have them handy and ready to give someone IF they ask you for one or if you exchange contact information with someone you meet.
I suggest not voluntarily handing them out or even asking for them.
Give if asked for one, take if given one.
If you need business cards made that are both professional and well priced, my good friend Ben at Graflix does an awesome job – he’s a great guy too. Tell him I sent you.
3) Top Three
Do your research on who’s going to be at WDS.
Who’s going to be there, either as an attendee or speaker, whose work your follow and respect that you’d like to meet?
It could be half a dozen to a dozen people, and that’s fine. Be sure though to identify the top three people you absolutely want to meet and focus your efforts on meeting these three people first.
Do your homework beforehand so that you’re up to date on their latest work, whether it’s a new book, podcast, or blog post. Know their work, story, and what they’re up to.
When you meet them, don’t overwhelm them with compliments and tie up their time.
Introduce yourself, tell them your a fan of their work, comment on some of their recent work, how it’s helped you (if it’s helped you), and then ask them a question?
What kind of question? Any question that ties into their work and what you’re working on.
I’m happy to report I got to meet all three and have become good friends with them because of WDS.
If you don’t have a top three, maybe just one or two or none – that’s OK.
As you listen to the different speakers throughout the weekend, take note of those whose message resonated with you the most and add them to your top three. The make it a point to meet them.
4) What To Pack
You can leave you fancy business attire at home.
For the guys – shorts, a pair of jeans, t-shirts, a button down or two, some shoes and flips flops will do the trick. A sports jacket is always an option too for a professional yet still casual look.
Comfort is king during WDS – just make it professional comfy.
5) When To Arrive
WDS doesn’t officially kick off until Friday so most people make their way into Portland on Thursday.
If you’re interested in taking part in some pre-summit academies that are offered throughout the day on Thursday (day before the official start), make your way to Portland on Wednesday since early morning academies begin as early as 9am on Thursday.
The WDS closing party is on Sunday evening and not to be missed. The last couple of years has included Bollywood dancing, colored powder (wear white clothing), and hot air balloon rides.
Plan to leave Portland on Monday so that you can experience the awesomeness that is the closing party and finish off a great weekend with everyone you’ve met.
Academies are small workshops that last a few hours each. Example workshops include How To Turn Your Dreams Into A World-Changing Business, How To Get Your Book Published, and Rejection Academy: Turning Rejection Into Opportunity.
These academies are not included in WDS ticket you purchased and cost extra to register for.
In addition to all of the planned WDS activities throughout Portland and main stage speakers, the academies are a great way to get involved in smaller, more intimate discussions around specific topics.
I encourage taking part in these academies, not just for the great content and how they’re structured, but also for the opportunity to meet and connect with others and make new friends.
7) Attend Meet-Ups
Meet-ups are different than academies.
Academies are provided through WDS while meet-ups are put on and hosted by attendees.
You can host your own meet-up during WDS too if you’d like. All it requires is picking a topic, location, and then getting the word out.
There’s even an option to submit your meet-up to WDS, letting them know what you’re planning and if they approve your meet-up, it’ll be listing and promoted on their site.
I’ll be hosting a meet-up this year, an Entrepreneur Fit Camp. With a week to go before WDS 2015, there’s currently 79 people registered for it.
I submitted my meet-up (Entrepreneur Fit Camp) to the WDS staff for review and they accepted it.
They then listed it on their WDS website which has helped tremendously with getting more registrations.
I decided to make my meet-up free of charge although others may choose to charge for theirs.
8) Don’t Be Shy
Whether your an introvert or extrovert, check your shyness at the door.
With so many opportunities to connect with people, whether it’s other attendees, WDS speakers and staff, either through the academies, meet-ups, and various other activities, WDS is no place to be shy.
Even if you’re coming alone and it feel like everyone knows other people but you, it’s a matter of saying hi and introducing yourself. Everyone is looking forward to meeting someone.
Last year was my first time attending WDS. I knew only a few people I had connected with a handful of times online. I left WDS with a dozen new friends throughout the world who I’ve kept in touch with and am looking forward to meeting up with them again this year.
A great way to overcome being shy (this works especially well for introverts) is by using what’s called the 3-Second Rule to meet someone.
It’s a great way of avoiding the stress and social anxiety of approaching people you don’t yet know.
9) Ask Questions
You’ll be meeting and speaking with lots of people during WDS.
Make it a point to ask questions of everyone you meet and then listen twice as much as you speak.
Ask them where they’re from, what brings them to WDS, and what they’re currently working on.
There’s no quicker way to build rapport, trust, and a potential new friend than asking questions, being engaged, and interested in the conversation.
Do more of the listening and less of the talking.
Of course if you asked questions, by all means answer them. Just make it a point not to spend too much time talking about yourself.
10) Invite Others To Join You
As you begin to meet and speak with more people, make it a point to invite those you meet to join you for lunch, a meet-up your going to, or perhaps even to sit with you inside of the Schnitzer Theater.
If you see someone who looks like they might be alone, extend this same type of invite to them. Whether it’s to join just you or a group of you – extend the invite.
Be on the lookout for others you can help by inviting them to join you.
Not only will you be helping to make someone’s WDS experience that much better, it’s also another opportunity to make a new friend.
Although not the reason for this act of kindness, I assure you your gesture won’t go unnoticed. It’ll stand out to others, and so will you.
11) Make Introductions
Have I mentioned you’ll be meeting and speaking with lots of people yet?
As you meet people and get to know what their working on and creating, introduce people you believe may benefit from meeting each other or you feel have the same personality and would hit it off.
The best way to find out what people are up to is by asking questions and then listening (see #9).
Connect people to people every chance you get during WDS.
12) Be Vulnerable
When you’re having conversations with others, be yourself and no one else.
Whether it’s during the smaller, more intimate academies, meet-ups, different WDS activities, or the one-on-one conversations with other attendees – let your guard down.
Ease up on the stories about how great you are, the people you know, and all the amazing work you’re doing.
Be open, honest, and forthcoming with your struggles, concerns, and setbacks.
The more real, open and honest you are with others, the better rapport you’ll create, better conversation you’ll have, and more of an opportunity for unique experiences and potential new friends.
By being vulnerable, it makes others comfortbale to be vulnerable themselves which makes for some real meaningful conversations.
13) Social Drinking
As with any other conference, summit, or gathering of sorts – fun times will ensue as they should. It’s all part of the fun and the overall experience.
Go ahead and have a few drinks as you meet and socialize with others, if you choose to.
Just be sure to keep it in check and not get lit up around people you’ve just met who don’t know you well enough yet to think it’s funny that you want to go streaking and then proceed to do so.
First impressions are everything – drink responsibility.
14) Have Fun
More important than anything else, make sure you have fun.
I know I’ve suggested lots of ways here to go into WDS prepared to make the best of the experience, and it’s important to do, but not nearly as important as it is to make sure you have fun.
Meet lots of people, attend academies and meet-ups, do and see as much as you can… as long as it’s not at the expense of having fun by overwhelming yourself.
15) Be Part Of The World Record Breaking Attempt
For the past two years, WDS attendees have successfully broken two world records and they’re going for a third one this year.
Whether you’re into breaking world records or not, I encourage and insist that you be a part of all future record breaking attempts at WDS.
Last years record breaking attempt was the world’s longest yoga chain. This year’s attempt will be the world’s biggest breakfast in bed party serving up waffles (I love waffles).
Whether or not you like yoga or waffles, it isn’t about either.
It’s about coming together with others to be part of something big, special, and record breaking.
Don’t be a party pooper – join in on the fun.
16) Schnitzer Theater
The Schnitzer theater is where the main stage is located and where all the goodness goes down.
It’s a beautiful auditorium where no seat is further than 100 feet from the stage. It’s where all of the WDS speakers will share a short message that combines their personal stories with practical ideas.
There isn’t a bad seat in the house.
I liked the proximity to the stage sitting on the main level although the view from the upper level was pretty sweet.
Again, you can’t go wrong regardless of where you decide to sit so no need to worry if you get to the Schnitzer Theater and there’s a huge line ahead of you waiting to get in… all the seats are great.
17) WDS Speakers
One of the main highlights, if not the main highlight of WDS, is the awesome speakers that share their personal stories and practical ideas.
Past speakers have included Chris Brogan, Jonathan Fields, Nancy Duarte, and Brene Brown.
Amazing speakers and stories that motivate and inspire.
One of the best things I did and I suggest you doing as well is take notes, lots of notes for each speaker you listen to so that you capture the moment and their message on paper.
A few weeks following WDS, there’s a blog post round up were Chris Guillebeau collects and publishes blog posts for those who create a summary of their experience at WDS.
With all of your notes, you’ll be able to easily write and submit your own WDS recap blog post.
It’s an awesome way to give back to Chris and the WDS community with a blog post review AND have your blog post listed on Chris’s blog – it’s a win-win.
18) Thank Chris
Chris Guillebeau makes himself very accessible through all of WDS.
Make time at some point to seek out Chris, briefly introduce yourself, and thank him for all he does and continues to do with WDS.
If there’s anything specific you want to thank him for, maybe it’s something he wrote, said, or did that affected you and made a difference in your life – let him know (briefly) and thank him.
Be respectful of him time and don’t talk his ear off for like 30 minutes – there’s like 2,999 others also hoping to meet and speak with him.
Make it brief, special, and to the point.
19) Experience Portland
Portland is such an awesome city.
I’ve only been there once (last year for WDS) and loved it.
It’s a cool city with an even cooler feel and food scene.
Portland is quaint and easy to get around.
All the different food trucks throughout the city are a must try.
Make sure to take advantage of the Portland Experience put together by WDS where they take over a 3-block section of the downtown Park Blocks, taking the best of Portland and bringing it directly to you.
Everything from food, drink, music, crafts, and exercise – it’s all there.
20) Take Lots Of Pictures
There’s going to be more opportunities to take lots of fun pictures than you realize, so be prepared.
Whether it’s with your iPhone, iPad, GoPro, or just a good old fashion camera – take lots of pictures.
There’s no such thing as taking too many pictures either – the more the better.
These are memories you’re going to want to remember. Pictures you’ll find yourself revisiting time and time again and each time, smiling big from ear to ear.
Take pictures of Portland, the people you meet, places you visit, foods you eat, and everything that’s WDS – from registration, to the main stage, to the closing party and everything in between.
These can also serve as the photos you share in your WDS blog post follow up recapping your experience at WDS that Chris Guillebeau will round-up and list on his own personal site.
If you think you’ve taken enough pictures, take more – I’m serious. You’ll thank me later.
21) Little Black Book
Your going to meeting lots of cool and and inspiring people at WDS, whether it’s other attendees, speakers, or the WDS staff.
You’re also going to want to remember who you met, their name, where they’re from, what their interests are, and what they’re currently working on. All answers you’ll get by following #9 – ask questions.
Don’t wait until after WDS to try and recall all of the information from everyone you met.
Have your own little black book with you wherever you go.
After you meet someone, take a few minutes and write down the information you need to remember about that particular person and all of the details that they shared with you
Whether you write it manually in your own little black book or in an app.
Along with my little black book, I also love using Evernote. You can store all of the information I just mentioned in Evernote keeping it nice and organized.
I like taking it a step further and getting a picture with everyone I meet and adding it to their file so that I remember who they were and what they looked like.
22) Follow-Ups After WDS
Meeting people and making lots of new friends and connections at WDS and not following up with them afterwards is like holding a winning lottery ticket and not cashing it in.
These follow-ups are new friendships, business opportunities, and potential partnerships waiting to happen.
Follow up with the people you met and had a good connection with one week after WDS to thank them for their time and the opportunity to connect.
You may even include a picture you took with them (see #20) in your email as a reminder of who you are and what you both talked about and connected on.
Cultivate these relationships.
Make the most of WDS not just during WDS, but afterwards as well.
23) Register For Next Year
If you’ve never been to WDS and are about to go for your very first time, I have a good feeling you’re going to want to do it all over again the following year. I know I did.
Here’s some great news too… when you commit to attend again the following year and purchase your tickets a few weeks after WDS, you’ll get a discount which equates to a few hundred dollars in savings.
This is a no brainer…
Attend this awesome gathering again the following year – yes please.
Save some money by purchasing tickets in advance – well yeah.
No worries about getting tickets the following year (they’re limited) when they’re released – I’m sold.
WDS Is An Experience Like No Other
If you’ve already purchased your tickets and are committed to going, awesome!
If you’re unsure whether or not it’s for you, take a look at this 10 minute video from WDS 2014.
I hope this post was helpful an that it provides you with enough information so that you have the best time possible at WDS.
Who knows, maybe I’ll get the opportunity to meet you there.
If you see me, come say hi – I’d love to meet you and get a picture with you too 🙂