Here at Hover, we’re lucky to regularly attend and sponsor conferences, including WordCamps. If you are not familiar with WordCamps, these all-volunteer conferences give WordPress users an opportunity to share ideas, learn, and network. Hover has been a proud sponsor of WordCamp Miami for many years and we had a blast at the 10 year anniversary in 2018. We are looking forward to WordCamp Miami 2019, but we know the decision to attend a large tech conference can be a bit intimidating. If you don’t feel technical or are highly introverted, don’t let that stop you from the experience. Here are 8 tips to help maximize your time and enjoyment at conferences, courtesy of the fabulous #WCMIA 2019 team!
Connect Before the Conference
Find out who is speaking and attending and use your favorite social media channel to connect and engage in advance. If you use Twitter, create a public speaker list you can share using event related hashtags. Use this time to schedule meals or coffee with fellow attendees.
Do Your Homework
Review the conference schedule and sessions before arriving at the conference venue. Decide what your goals are for attending the conference. Pick and prioritize the sessions that will be most meaningful for you. Take notes to reinforce what you learn and to reference after the conference ends.
Turn Your Perceived Weaknesses Into Strengths
New to the topic? Don’t be shy in letting others know and asking the newbie questions. People enjoy sharing their knowledge, especially at conferences.
If you are introvert, plan time away to recharge. Take snacks if you have food sensitivities so that you are not hungry. Leave a session and try a different talk if you find yourself bored.
Focus on what’s taking place at the conference, not the messages and alerts on your phone. As much as possible, clear your schedule in advance of a conference so you are not multi-tasking.
Ask Great Questions
It can be awkward for speakers to end a talk and not be asked any thoughtful questions. For tips, WordCamp Miami Organizer David Bisset offers straightforward tips on asking questions at conferences.
Talk to Sponsors
Yes, sponsors are there to promote their products and services. But they are a wealth of information about trends. If Hover is at an event you are attending, be sure to stop by, ask us questions, and pick up some great swag.
Follow-up After the Conference
The experience doesn’t end upon your arrival home. Create a blog, video, or podcast detailing your experiences and what you learned. Ask other attendees and speakers for quotes to include and ask them to share and comment once your conference post is complete (psst…if you don’t have your own website, Hover can help you pick the perfect domain).
We can’t wait to see all the long-time attendees, volunteers, and sponsors, as well as newcomers at 2019’s WordCamp Miami. Also, as Canadians currently suffering through horrendous winter in Toronto (where is Spring?) we are looking forward to a sunny weekend in the beautiful sunshine state! Come talk domain names and WordPress with us.