Attending tech conferences is a must whether you’re a developer or a starting tech entrepreneur. Not only does it give you new insight regarding the niche you’ve selected to be a part of; but it also gives you the opportunity to mingle and connect with like-minded developers or business people. It presents you with huge opportunities and gives you many new experiences that you normally wouldn’t get in an office or classroom setting. Of course, heading to one takes some preparation – you don’t just go there, pay the conference fee, and let the organizers do the magic for you. You should never come unarmed to one as there are a lot of takeaways that await those who come in prepared.
Before showing up at that big tech conference, ensure that you have readied the following:
One of your primary goals in attending an event or a conference is to connect and build a network of contacts with your fellow attendees, so you need to have an updated business card with you. It should contain all the pertinent contact information others might need in order to reach you, including your business phone number, email address, website, and your line of work (or the nature of your business). You can go the old school way and have them printed (to impress your newfound contacts with your professionalism and aesthetic taste), or you can opt to be all-out tech savvy with business card apps like CamCard and CardMunch.
Laptop or tablet
Most conferences would allow you to have access to power sockets and a Wi-Fi hotspot so you can easily tweet and live blog apart from the usual note-taking you are already expected to do. For such situations, you’ll need a laptop or tablet to work on. While laptops remain popular for most events, tablets are quickly gaining popularity as the preferred means of completing tasks at tech expos or events because they’re easy to lug around. However, don’t leave your laptop in your hometown just yet because there are some tasks that your paper thin tablet cannot compensate for – like the usual hardcore programming. A touchscreen slate just won’t cut it. If you find your laptop too heavy, then you can opt to leave it in your hotel room at times but be ready to take it with you at some point – you’ll never know when it will come in handy.
Every professional needs a smartphone to take both business phone calls and personal calls. Aside from that, the normal smartphone would let you do a whole bunch of other things that can help you document the event well. You can use your smartphone’s camera to take snapshots of the speakers, the people that you meet, and the general surroundings. You can use your phone’s video function to record keynotes and talks from speakers that you like. You can use the audio or voice recording function of your phone so you won’t miss anything in case you decide not to take notes (just transcribe the recording afterwards).
Of course, when you have several devices with you, you have to be battle-ready by bringing their corresponding chargers with you. One way or another, you’ll run out of batteries so it is definitely a must to recharge lest you want to look like a caveman in a tech conference. If you use a lot of gadgets, it would be a good idea to get one of those hybrids or universal chargers that you can purchase from gadget stores and the like. If you don’t have one of those, it would be good to at least bring your own power strip so you can charge multiple devices at the same time.
If you’re attending a conference, you’ll probably bring home a lot of freebies so it would be great to bring an extra duffle bag or tote for the swag that you’ll get. Additionally, you’ll be getting tons of paper, including the printed slides or handouts from speakers, the calendar of sessions, the press releases from sponsors, and so much more. If you have extra room in your luggage, there’d be a lower chance of misplacing or losing them – and you’ll remain guided throughout your conference stint.
You’ll be talking to a lot of people, so don’t turn them off by having bad breath. Always have a pack of mints with you, and don’t hesitate to give out some if you’re asked for it.
Perhaps you’re attending the tech conference to make new connections or to snag a project from a prospect. Look professional by wearing a smile on your face at all times. Strike up conversations with people and don’t be shy. Every event is an opportunity to network and to make new business contacts, so you have to present your best self by means of a smile – it never goes out of style!
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