Networking is such a HUGE aspect of CPAC, if not the most valuable. There were a number of times where I had to scramble to find a piece of paper and a pen to write down my contact information. It’s best if you buy a couple hundred business cards and hand them out as you meet and connect with people.
If you’re a student, it’s extremely important for you to get connected to other young conservatives. Often times, young conservatives connect with each other to gather ideas for activism events and organizations dedicated to the conservative movement.
Men, this one is for you. If you have a beard or facial hair, trim it. You shouldn’t look like a member of Duck Dynasty. No one will take you seriously if you look like you rolled out of bed and put dress clothes on.
Do vote in the straw poll.
In the conservative movement, and particularly the GOP, the CPAC straw poll is what political insiders use to gage candidates popularity. It takes two minutes to do and can make a huge impact on the future of the Republican Party.
DO plan your days ahead of time.
CPAC has so many different activities, workshops and speeches at any given time. It’s best to take a copy of the schedule and pick out the few non-negotiables, the events you absolutely MUST attend.
DO attend the panel discussions.
Panel discussions seem to be the one thing most attendees skip, but they’re one of the most beneficial aspects of CPAC. Not only do they touch upon modern issues, but they’re addressed by experts in the field.
DON’T wear high heels.
If you’re a woman who is inexperienced with high heels, don’t even attempt to wear them. I’ve known too many women who buy a pair of brand new pumps to wear to the conference. They don’t break them in and their feet end up killing them after walking around all day. I suggest wearing broken in flats. Your feet will thank you.
DON’T skip the Leadership Institute’s Job Fair.
If you’re a college student, it’s important to participate in LI’s Job Fair. All of the top conservative organizations are there looking for interns and potential employees. Even if you’re a year or so out from graduating college, the job fair is great preparation for post-graduate job interviews.
DON’T attack speakers for hugs and photo-ops.
So many people get excited when they see their favorite politician or media personality. I’ve watched girls run down the hall of the Gaylord, push through the crowd and run up to their favorite person for a picture. All that does is set off alarms with the person’s security personnel and upsets those who were pushed. If you’re calm and ask politely, most of them will take a picture with you.
DON’T bring signs into the main ballroom.
Even though CPAC staff does their best to limit the number of signs in the main ballroom, there are always those who decide to sneak them in anyways. Not only is it disrespectful to those who are sitting around you, but it’s also rude to the speaker. Often times signs distract speakers from addressing the audience and getting their message across.
DON’T dress like it’s a nightclub.
The attire for CPAC is business casual at the bear minimum. Ladies, if you’re wearing a dress that is revealing, it is NOT appropriate to wear. Think of this as a professional environment. For all you know, you could meet your future employer here. Dress the part.
DON’T skip out on the after parties and social functions.
Some of the greatest events at CPAC happen after the CPAC agenda is over. If you have the opportunity and ability to attend Blog Bash or the Reagan Dinner, do it! You won’t regret it.