It’s almost here… conference season.
What does that mean? Sessions, breakouts, bagel bars, and sponsored happy hours.
If you’ve done this before, you probably have your own list of ways to stay sane and make the most of these events. (If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comments). However, if you’re a first timer (or you need a refresher) — feel free to use our list of tips below.
1. Life is too short to wear the same outfit all day. Plan accordingly.
2. Set an out-of-office reply on your email.
3. Book early and book often. If you’re even considering a conference then book your hotel asap, nothing is worse than having to navigate across a city you’re not familiar with at 3:30am after an E-recruit party.
4. Preparation: do everything you can do before the show. You’ll have less time than you think once you’re at the conference.
5. Pack light, you can always buy things. Cherish that toothpaste as a souvenir.
6. Find out who’s going! Plan meetings before you go.
7. If you’re an exhibitor, choose the location of your booth wisely.
8. Decide which sessions to attend ahead of time.
9. Ladies, book a hair appointment at the hotel salon for the 3rd day of the conference before even arriving.
10. Book at least one reservation for a nice restaurant in town ahead of time. Once you get there everyone will be sick of conference food too.
11. Bring more business cards than you think you need.
12. Plan out your days and know the schedule. Most attendees are unaware and often miss the sessions they really want to visit.
13. Come a day early, leave a day late.
14. It’s never too early to add someone on LinkedIn.
15. Order sparkling wine from the bar to class it up.
16. Attend the social events. Maximize the opportunity that social events provide.
17. Visit your high-priority vendors early on so you don’t miss them.
18. Lanyards are for amateurs.
19. Don’t you dare pick up a selfie stick.
20. Don’t be afraid to let your hair down at networking events, but don’t talk shop unless you’re asked. Over the course of the three days you’ll get to talk shop.
21. Drink early, but moderate by drinking slowly for a constant buzz.
22. If you sit down at a round table and there are seven competitive vendors hovering around one prospect, leave a business card and immediately evacuate. Follow back up with the prospect after they’ve recovered.
23. Don’t let your phone die, ever. Get a mophie battery case so you never miss an after party.
24. Come a day early, leave a day late.
25. You have to download the conference app. There’s no doubt you’ll lose the 4 paper versions they give you.
26. Take advantage of the welcome/intro events. If there’s a ‘first-timer’ event, and you’ve never been, you should be there.
27. Don’t drink too hard the first night.
28. Don’t be the guy always arriving late to sessions.
29. Never eat alone, it’s a wasted opportunity.
30. People can be really unpleasant in the morning. Leave them alone.
31. Visit Staffing Robot and get one of their t-shirts.
32. Remember to have business cards on you at all times Keep business cards in your name tag.
33. Exhibitors: Food is a great giveaway.
34. Don’t drink too much on the last night, unless it’s the last night and they’re not on your plane tomorrow.
35. Get to know your booth neighbors. They might just become clients or evangelists.
36. Make sure you cover your booth but don’t forget about the value of sessions.
37. Skip a conference-provided meal and have a meal with your team or coworkers.
38. Attendees: We know you’re all just giving our swag to your children. That’s OK, we dig it.
39. If you’re going to party with the kids at night, you have to get up with the adults in the morning
40. Stay for the entire conference.
41. Sit with people you don’t know. It’s easy to sit with people you’re already comfortable with.
42. You can’t wait for people to come to you the entire time. Work the floor.
43. Register Early. Then go take a nap, the first night is the longest.
44. Okay, honestly — you should try to get away from the hotel at least one night.
45. Don’t expect traffic at your booth. If a qualified prospect stumbled to your booth, it’s an accident.
46. Walk the room before you set up. Know where traffic is going to come from, where food will be set up, etc.
47. It’s not about you. Don’t talk about yourself, and always ask questions. When someone wants to know about you they’ll ask.
48. Go to round table discussions and sit next to people you don’t know.
49. Be nice to your conference buddies. A morning off after a long night is worth a $10,000 check.
50. Keep all liquid five feet from booths. Especially, if it’s red wine.
51. Exhibitors, don’t pay for electricity, use your neighbors.
52. Put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door, especially if you plan escaping back to your room midday.
53. Eight dudes at your booth? Yeah, totally approachable. Eight women? Maybe you’re attracting the wrong crowd.
54. Connect with your vendors. You may not always get much time with them in-person.
55. If the person you’re talking with is out of business cards, get creative and don’t let them leave without getting their information. If you’re entirely out of business cards, your company underestimated you.
56. Learn how to order drinks at the hotel bar. Also, if it’s on the company card, buy a round every once in awhile. Pay it forward.
57. If you want to order a Miller Lite, knock it off. Unless you’re drinking it all night.
58. Write down info about the person whose card you collected. Maybe not physical traits, just what you want to talk to them about next time.
59. Start drinking six drinks every night before conference just to prep your poor liver.
60. Coworkers need their own room. This is conference season, silly. Don’t be stingy.
61. It’s never too late at night to add someone on LinkedIn. It’s like a professional booty call.
62. Wear appropriate shoes that are fashionable yet comfortable. Just in case.
63. Don’t ever sit down.
64. Attendees need to be pampered. If you can convince your bartender that your product is awesome then your pitch is good.
65. Tip your bartenders well they will forever be your best fitness. Oops — friends.
66. Don’t try to talk about the conference on the way home. It’s inevitable that you’ll meet people on your flight, but don’t do it.
67. Follow Lauren B Jones on Twitter @lbuffjones. It’s rumored that she is hilarious, and has great shoes.
68. Want to break away from your company crowd for a bit? Try some of these conference opening lines:
Have you been to any memorable sessions?
Who is one person I should meet here?
How far did you travel to get here?
Happy Conference! I have some great takeaways from the conference so far – what are some of yours?
69. Maximize your time between sessions. Check out the pool.
70. Polos are for the golf course.
71. Get a coffee from CareerBuilder.
72. Oh, you want one thing from every booth?
73. Buy Hugo a drink.
74. Even if you don’t think you need someone’s product, let them give their pitch. You never know what you’ll hear or who they can introduce you to, and they will appreciate the conversation.
75. If all of your company’s reps are engaged in conversation and someone walks over, take a moment to ask for a business card and let them know you’ll find them later in the conference.
76. Attend sessions (seriously, even if you’re an exhibitor).
77. Make sure your booth is manned 100% of the time (days, nights, weekends, breaks).
78. Feel comfortable to leave your booth (once it’s manned). Mingle and be merry.
79. Always be networking. Reach out even if you’re nervous, because they probably feel the exact same way.
80. Constantly check your teeth and your fly.
81. Be ready to be smiling all day and then stay out too late.
82. Follow Dice, they typically have a fun interactive booth
83. The best vendors will listen and give you advice, and give you recommendations on your situation. They should share the insight that they have in the industry, not just try to press you for a quick sale.
84. Rank your interactions. Find a vendor you liked, or a staffing company that wants to hear more? Rank the list on a scale from 1-5 (5 is a must follow-up)
85. Reach out to any presenters you particularly enjoyed. They will appreciate it more than you know. If so inclined, BCC the conference email address to let them know you enjoyed that speaker.
86. Four gems — Think of three things you took away from the conference? Be prepared to answer this question when friends, family members, and other coworkers reach out to see how the trip was for you.
87. When the conference is over, it’s over. Go home.
88. Be sure to follow up afterwards! But not too soon.
That’s our list! What’s on yours? Tweet us @StaffingRobot.