Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Some people live for conference season. They look forward to the parties, the networking, the talks, the chance to meet and greet with the best and brightest of their industry. For others, the thought of being stuck in a busy conference hall with thousands of people for several days fills them with dread. Whichever end of the spectrum you’re on, it’s hard to deny that conferences are both exciting and tiring. Next time your boss hands you some plane tickets and a name badge, try these conference survival tips:
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to do a year’s worth of networking in just three days. Learn to pace yourself. Conferences are supposed to be about networking and learning, not playing Pokemon with name badges. Instead of rushing from table to table trying to speak to as many people as possible, try to focus on having quality interactions with the people that you meet.
Make time for sleep
The average conference calendar features parties every single night; often, there are official parties, sponsor parties, unofficial parties, tweetups, after parties, and “we couldn’t make it to the real conference but we’re partying here anyway” parties. Do you really need to attend them all? It’s nice to make it to one or two post conference sessions, just for the chance to chat with your friends, but staying fresh and alert for the conference itself is more important. If you make time for sleep, you’ll be less stressed and tired during the last few days of the conference, and more likely to make it home without the conference flu.
Twitter is an amazing tool for networking. If you make it through an entire conference without someone saying “Ooh, are you the person with the [monkey/space ship/dog/delete as appropriate] as their avatar?” then you either have a photo of yourself as your Twitter avatar, or you’re not Tweeting enough.
Twitter is a great place to network, keep up with what’s going on at sessions that you couldn’t get to, and find out what the general mood is at the conference. Even if you don’t think much of social media, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the conference hashtag and Facebook page. If nothing else, it will prevent you from falling into a mental bubble because you’re so busy rushing from talk to talk that you fail to take in what other people are saying.
Read the program
This might seem obvious, but the first thing you should do when you arrive at the venue is pick up a copy of the program and read it. There’s little more frustrating than finding out that you missed out on an exciting workshop or keynote because you didn’t know that it was happening, or because you failed to notice the sign saying that the time slot had moved. Pick up the program, grab a coffee from the dining area, and take a few minutes to plan your schedule for the day. This “break” first thing in the morning might be the only free time you have except for lunch, so enjoy it.
This post was written by the team at Name Badges International
– global name badge experts .