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Tech Conference Tips and Tricks

By: Abbi Minessale Category: Blog Posted: July 13, 2017
Tech Conferences are a great way to get to know other professionals in the industry, but there are a few ways that you can make the most out of the experience. I’m going to be using ClueCon as an example, but the following tips apply to any and all conferences! More information about ClueCon specifically can be found at the end of this post!

 

If You’re a Speaker-

Put your Social Media/Contact Info On Each Slide:

This isn’t necessary, but it is a fast and easy way to get contacts! If you put either your twitter handle, facebook name, or email in the footnotes of each slide, it will be easier for people to follow you if they find your talk interesting! Now people can keep up with all the happenings in your specific industry!

Don’t Read Each Bullet Point:

Rehearse! You already know the material inside and out, but rehearsing will still make you so much more comfortable when you get in front of people. Be mindful that you’re not simply reading verbatim off of your slides. Think of the bullet points on your slide as conversation starters and try to present the information in an interesting way. Talking for 30 minutes is valid, but people will remember you better if you present some of the info in a unique way. Bonus points for demos…attendees love to see what you are working on.

Get a Good Nigh’t Sleep:

Take care of yourself! Get plenty of sleep the night before so that you are in the right mindset for your presentation. Do what you need to do…eat breakfast, make time for that cup of coffee, meditate, whatever you need so that you feel completely comfortable when it’s your turn to talk.

 

For Everyone-

Participate:

A lot of people are working hard to guarantee that you have an excellent experience, so don’t miss out! ClueCon has a ton of events lined up every year that aid networking and to help you learn and you would be remiss to miss them! Make the most of your trip by attending as many of the talks, parties, and competitions as you can!  

Do your Homework:

Before the conference starts, check out who will be speaking, decide who you’d like to meet, and what you want to get out of the conference. That way, you’ll never be caught off guard and you can get the most out of the experience. You can see the list of ClueCon speakers here: https://www.cluecon.com/speakers.html

Business Cards:

Business cards are slowly being phased out…but they’re not dead yet! If someone hands you their business card, read it before you shove it in your pocket, that way you might find something in common to talk about! It’s better to be asked for your business card than to force it on someone and make sure you bring them with you to networking events. Bonus points if your business card is unique and aesthetically pleasing.

Follow Up:

If you meet someone and say you’re going to follow up with them later…do so! Send that email! Make that phone call! It is custom to follow up within a week of returning home after the conference in order to maintain that connection and maybe do a little business.

Be Conscious of Your Appearance:

Of course this doesn’t mean that you need to wear a dress or tie everyday. Just think about the image you are trying to present and match it to your exterior. If this means a snarky t-shirt and jeans, cool. If it means a nice button down, cool. Just make sure your choice is intentional. Not everyone is going to know who you are and clothing is an excellent way to project your personality.

Don’t be a Chair Hog:

Tech conferences, especially ClueCon, understand that you love your equipment and you might have a lot of it…but chairs are for people. Please put it under your chair. If there isn’t enough room, the ClueCon employees would be glad to watch it for you or lock it in their storage rooms. Please let the people sit in the chairs. Bonus points: If you have an empty seat next to you and someone arrives late and are looking for a spot, raise your hand to let them know where a free seat is.

Elevator Pitch:

This is a classic, but a good one! Practice your 30 second elevator pitch. Describe who you are and what your company does. Try to describe your company in terms of benefits rather than features and try to relate your business to something personal with whom you are speaking to! Try to focus more on making connections rather than selling something, the business side will come naturally. Bonus points if you ask questions about the other person.

Provide Feedback:

ClueCon does its best to tailor its events around what you want so we love to hear our attendees thoughts! At the end of each conference we send out a survey where you can give feedback about what you loved and what you would like to see in the future! Make sure you fill out those surveys and have your thoughts heard.

Silence Your Electronics:

The speakers have a lot of exciting information to give you and they worked really hard to present it to you so don’t interrupt them with your nostalgic 1986 Legend of Zelda ringtone. Silence those phones, tablets, and computers! If you need to take a call, take it outside of the conference room so that the other attendees don’t lose focus.   

Take in the Diverse Backgrounds:

There are a myriad of different people gathered at a conference and it’s a great place to be exposed to different ideas. The more open minded you are, the more you will learn! Don’t let someone using a coding language you hate get in the way of the big picture.

Put Yourself Out There!

This is also a little bit “duh” but it’s always a good reminder that the best way to network is to simply be yourself! Go out of your way to make people feel comfortable, jump into the conversations, say hi!

Bring Tech Paraphernalia:

Ok, I can hear you saying “duh” through the screen…but it happens. People forget. No really. A few years ago we had a work meeting that people flew hours to get to, and someone forgot their laptop. Double check. Laptop, chargers, phone, tablet. Pro Tip: bring a battery pack so that you don’t have to be tethered to the outlets and accidentally trip other attendees. Fortunately, a little bird told me that FreeSWITCH will be giving out battery packs at ClueCon this year!

Get Hyped!

If you love the conference and want to spread the joy, post about your experience on social media!!! For ClueCon, you can use the hashtag #cluecon2k17 and follow our, and our sponsors accounts on Facebook, twitter, and Instagram! If you follow us on Twitter, you won’t miss a thing because we’ll be letting you know everything that’s happening…live! Follow us @cluecon and @freeswitch!

ClueCon is unique because of its conversational tone. It’s a conference for developers by developers so there is a focus on discussion between peers and staying up to date on all of the new information in the industry. ClueCon is a gathering of open source projects discussing Voice over IP, software and hardware, Telecommunications, WebRTC, and IoT.  ClueCon is more fun and laid back than other conferences, but it’s still important to know how to present yourself as a professional. If you are interested in registering, click here! https://www.cluecon.com/register.html

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