Survive and thrive at a conference

As the annual editors’ conference approaches, my mind turns to the strategies others have taught me over the years.

  1. Have strategies to meet people
  2. Take names
  3. Wear comfortable shoes
  4. Plan for down time
  5. Update your avatar
  6. Follow up

Meet people

Even if you are naturally comfortable striking up conversations, volunteering is a great way to prompt yourself. Sit at the registration desk, give directions… I was even the photographer once, which enabled me to take names, link them to faces, and be memorable – even if it was as “that person who stuck a lens in my face.”

As a bonus, being the photographer allows you to jump in and out of sessions with minimal dirty looks.

Remember who you met

Taking names is rather the point, no? Jot names, take cards, take photos (Super effective if you catch their name tag in the photo!), or connect with people immediately through social media – right then while they’re in front of you, you hip tech chick.

Wear comfortable shoes

Or, at least, memorable shoes. (Thanks, Anne Louise Mahoney)

Plan for down time

Chances are, you’re not as young as you used to be. And, you likely spend most of your time alone, at your desk. All the standing up and schmoozing at a conference is tiring. Give yourself time to recuperate. Yes, you will miss out on some opportunities. But when you’re present, you will be so “on” that you’ll make a better impression. (Thanks, Jacqueline Dinsmore)
Pro tip: Get at least one really good night’s sleep before the conference. (Krystyna Lagowski, PWAC)


Update your avatar

Ade avatar May13This will help people you meet at the conference recognize that you are the person they had that great chat with online, or who always posts interesting things.

After the conference, being able to recognize your haircut/ glasses/ outfit will help the people you met connect to you online. They’ll know they’ve found the right person.

If you’re really on top of things, snap your photo AT the conference – resulting in a recognizable outfit and all. (Thanks, Tommy Vallier)

Follow up

Flesh out your notes before you forget. Give people time to recover from the conference, but follow up before it is a distant memory. One idea is to draft your emails, tweets, etc. then schedule them for release 10 days after the conference.


Join the discussion. Comment below or visit LinkedIn for Tips on attending a conference.

Update: PWAC Toronto has a great post full of tips.

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