I love attending Think Vis. In my opinion it’s not only the best value conference, but has a brilliant speaker and attendee crowd. However, although the talks are great, and there are usually some excellent takaways, I prefer what I refer to as the “Unofficial Think Vis Tips”. These are the water cooler conversations you have around a round of drinks, at the lunch breaks, over the coffee stand, or while having a quick and sneaky smoke.
There are many notes I have jotted mentally, and hopefully I will get these out in the next day or so. But here is a tip that will give you so that you too can get hold of these at your next conference:
ThinkVis Tip 1: Making The Most of All Speakers and Attendees!
1. Try and do some research before hand
- Who is attending?
- Who is speaking?
- What are your relationships with these people? Do you follow their blog? Comment on them? Talk to them on twitter? Elsewhere? Have friends in common?
- What do they like to speak about?
2. Decide the questions you really want answered, or discussions you really want to hear
3. Prime the people you want to speak to
- Tweet them – “hi I am so an so and am attending – would love to meet you in real life”
- Contact them via their site
- Let your mutual contacts arrange an introduction
- Offer to buy / drink coffee as a promise
4. Make it clear who you are and why you want to speak to them, when you get to the conference!
5. Approach the topic honestly – these people aren’t idiots – don’t try and make it sound as if the problem you want discussed is someone else’s!
The next tips are for people that you didn’t realize you would like to approach until you heard them speak.
Approaching New Interesting People
- Don’t crowd them right after a talk – let them get a drink – speaking isn’t easy for everyone and they may be mentally exhausted!
- Make sure you identify what you enjoyed about their talk – positive feedback is always an excellent starting point.
- If time is limited (maybe there are only 10 mins to next talk etc) don’t hog their time – they may have their own catching up to do and will talk to you out of politeness, but may not be fully immersed in the conversation. Arrange to meet at THEIR convenience, or simply ask for contact details like a card or email address.
- Finally – don’t make a nuisance of yourself. If they are speaking to someone, dont interupt, don’t butt in, and don’t assume that they have to answer every question you have!
The above are my personal brand of conference contact etiquette; however others may have better strategies…
Rishi Lakhani is an independent Online Marketing Consultant specialising in SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing and Social Media. Explicitly.Me is his Blog. Google Profile