Top Ten Tips for attending the One Young World Summit
The One Young World Summit is less than a week away; it's an exciting time for any delegate or Returning Ambassador! Knowing you're going to be surrounded by 1000 of the brightest and best young leaders from 196 countries is exhilarating but can also be a bit daunting; I knew it was going to be an amazing experience but it was hard to know what to expect. Handily, the One Young World team have compiled a "What To Expect Brochure" for 2015 attendees (emailed to all confirmed delegates and Ambassadors). I've also put together my top ten tips based on my experience as a delegate and One Young World Ambassador, which will hopefully help you to make the most of the Summit.
1) Set some goals before you arrive
Why are you attending the Summit? What are you hoping to get out of it? Perhaps you want to create a new network around your social enterprise or meet a future business partner? Take a look at the agenda, set yourself some goals and do your best to achieve them whilst you’re in Bangkok.
2) Share on social media
As well as letting your friends know about your experience, social media updates end up as a great online record of your time at the Summit. It’s a good idea to follow other Ambassadors and delegates on Twitter and Facebook to share stories and stay connected. They may capture something that you miss.
3) Networking takes on a new meaning
This will be the most diverse group of people you have met in your life; 196 countries and countless professions, backgrounds and areas of interest. Be confident and introduce yourself to anyone and everyone, you never know who might be a key contact for the future. A stack of business cards can be useful, if you don’t have printed business cards why not make your own? I have a friend who hand-makes them, which is a lovely touch and means she is super memorable. I’ve recently learnt to snap a picture of the person who you’ve just met with them holding their business card as putting a face to a name can sometimes be tricky (especially when you take home a stack of 300 business cards…)
4) Be on time
An excruciating moment in Pittsburgh 2012 was when one of the Counsellors wanted to give a shoutout to an Ambassador who had decided to have a lie-in… don’t be that person. You’ll hear this a zillion times but there are thousands of people who are desperate to attend the Summit and would have been glad to take your place. Being on time is a small courtesy and means you don’t miss out.
5) Rest up
Getting to Bangkok can be exhausting for some people, especially those who will be in transport for 48 hours! Try to arrive full of energy so that you can be awake and experience all aspects of the Summit. As much fun as it was to stay up partying at the Summit, I regretted it when I wasn't on top form the next day. There’s a party after the Closing Ceremony and you’ll make tons of new friends to have nights out with after the Summit ends. Try and get to bed early. The more you put in, the more you get out.
6) Take notes
You will learn about everything from coffee farming to cancer curing and, as unforgettable as it might seem at the time, note taking is essential in order for you to retain as much information as possible. There were so many stories and statistics I thought would stay with me forever at the time but now wish I had written down. I would recommend taking a notebook and pen, even if you’re planning to take notes on a laptop or iPad. Electronics run out of battery!
7) Wear what makes you happy (but please, do wear something!)
One doesn’t often get a chance to wear national dress but please feel free to wear it with pride at One Young World. You’re more than welcome to wear t-shirts and casual clothing (or the One Young World t-shirt you receive). You may wear a suit if you wish to but it’s not a requirement.
8) If you want to speak at a microphone, be prepared
There is limited time for people to speak from the floor. Make the most of your time at the mic. Use your phone or notepad to gather your thoughts before you address the Summit; a really impactful floor speech will get loads of hits on Youtube and can gain fantastic attention for your cause. Often standing next to one of your heroes can result in becoming lost for words. You’ll be gutted if people don’t get to hear your message because you’re tongue tied. Don’t waste the chance to address the world by being unprepared or unclear with what you want to say, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity so think very carefully about how you’ll use it.
9) Be culturally aware
In such a diverse environment, do try and be considerate to cultural sensitivities. Some people may not be permitted to engage in physical contact with members of the opposite sex so don’t be offended if someone is unable to shake your hand. Be respectful and seize the opportunity to learn about customs and traditions different from your own.
10) The Summit is just the beginning
Staying in touch with other Ambassadors and the One Young World organisation is undoubtedly the best way to gain the most out of your experience. Use social media to let everyone know what you’re up to and keep an eye out for emails from One Young World for news and opportunities. There are so many unique and exclusive chances available to One Young World Ambassadors but they’re easy to miss if you don’t take the time to read the mailouts. Opportunities include events, funding, trips abroad and media exposure. You really can miss out on so much if you think of the end of the Summit as the end of your One Young World journey.
Stay connected to One Young World on their social media channels below: