I am writing this post from the train to New York City to attend BlogWorld East. It seems that there is a conference for just about everything. This one is for bloggers and new media enthusiasts. As a self-proclaimed conference junkie, I was very excited to be able to attend this event without getting on an airplane or staying in a hotel. However, I realized that I might not have planned for this as well as I should have.
As a conference planner myself, I have observed many Do’s and Don’ts of attending events. Here are seven tips for you to consider.
1. Do your homework. If there are many tracks and sessions available, research what you want to attend so that you can make the most of your experience.
2. Bring a buddy. It can be intimidating to go to an event that you have never been to before. If you can find someone else to go with it helps to take the anxious edge off.
3. If you bring a buddy, don’t spend the entire time with them. Conferences are great places to meet new people. Team up with your buddy so that you can meet people to introduce each other to.
4. Talk to the person who looks lonely. You never know who you are going to meet or how they will change your life. Say hello to a stranger.
5. Remember that learning takes places in both the sessions and in the hallways or at the bar. Be present at everything. We all have businesses to run and being at a conference means that certain work isn’t getting done. Conferences are not inexpensive to attend. Do your best to act like it is work and treat it like a special project that deserves your attention.
6. Volunteer. Even if you haven’t been to the event before, see how you can lend a hand. This is a great way to meet new people and learn more about the organization. It’s also a great way to demonstrate your skills and find potential opportunity.
7. Have fun, but be professional. Conferences are filled with lots of great opportunity, but don’t go overboard. Watch your drinking at open bar events and drink lots of water. Social events are a great way to network, but always remember it’s still a business environment!
These are just some ideas I have. I’m almost in NYC. Please share your Do’s and Don’ts of being a good conference attendee.