Make the most of a work conference

Last week, I attended a 10,000 persons conference on information management and analytics.  It was huge and tiring.

Here are my notes/tips for making the most of a work conference:

  • Don’t party so hard at night that you can’t attend conference sessions during the day.  The number one reason is that you can get fired if your company knew that you slacked off .
  • Network, network, network.  this is your chance to meet all kinds of folks in one place whether it be your executives for mentoring or customers to learn more about your market.  network during meals, while walking in-between sessions, or waiting for sessions to begin.  you are not allowed to hang out in your hotel room during the conference.
  • From the Freaknomics authors (not verbatim): If you are not good at something, find an area where no one else wants to work in and dominate.
  • If you’re a health nut, wear a pedometer to see how many miles you walk each day.  I heard some said as high as 7 to 9 miles per day at my conference.
  • Before you go to the conference, do your homework – find out who will be there or who will be speaking in which sessions, try to schedule meetings/dinners ahead of time, what is the dress code, what evening parties are available, etc.
  • When you get back, share what your learned.  Be a team player and don’t rub it in that you got to go.  The goal is to increase the knowledge of you and your team.
  • Bonus: Hot IT topics: streaming / real-time data, cloud computing, and appliances.  Application developers drive database decisions.

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