I don't know about you, but my in-person conference skills need a brush-up. For me, it's been a little over three years since my last in-person.
So here are some tips I've put together with some help from a few friends.
- If you are turning up on Monday before dinner, check the JNUC Slack Channel for any pre-conference get-togethers Monday night. The same is true every night. You can sleep when you get back home. This may be the only chance you get to talk to these people for some time.
- Go to the Keynote. It's the start of the conference, and at JNUC it starts well. I know it might be hard getting out of bed after the long flight the day before but do it. In fact, get into the conference venue for breakfast and a gossip every day before the first presentation.
- Talk to people. Don't be afraid to talk to anyone. The "hallway" track can be a great part of the in-person experience.
- Ask questions. Seriously, the presenters want questions and hope all the attendees go away with a good understanding of their presentation topic. If you would like to ask the author of that script you use all the time a question after their presentation, go right up and ask.
- Don't be afraid to attend a presentation that might be a little out of your depth. We are here to learn. (If you are a little confused at the end, ask the presenter to go over a topic again during question time.)
- Check out the Braindate schedule to see if there is a bunch of people gathering to discuss your favorite topic or your biggest problem. Maybe somebody you would really like to talk to is hosting one.
It all boils down to one thing. As William Smith said on Slack, "Enjoy the people. That's really why you're going. To be around your peers, your friends, and to maybe put a face to a name you've seen online. The sessions are recorded. Enjoy being able to get back out into the world."