It’s easy to walk into a Conference and feel overwhelmed and unprepared. Spending a little time in preparation, can help you get the best return on your conference investment.
Bear in mind that, Conference attendance is about development – it’s as much about business and relationship development as it is professional development. Here are some tips to consider as you’re preparing to attend SyntaxCon.
Before Coming to Syntax Conference:
- Prepare your packing checklist (if traveling): Make sure it includes items such as business cards, branded pens (to share with people who need a pen), personal and branded name tags, conference badge flags that promote fun and conversation, or other items that might help develop relationships and serve as icebreakers. If you’re known for wearing funky socks, hats, broaches, bow ties, or scarves, be sure to include them in your packing list.
- Update your social media profile images: Particularly those images that appear on LinkedIn, Twitter and Slack. Make sure your profile displays a recent photo so other attendees will recognize you when they see you, especially if you are actively using the SyntaxCon Twitter hashtag – #syntaxcon
- Interact on Social Media: Use the conference hashtag (#syntaxcon), and join the Syntax Slack Community to facilitate communication during the event.
Come Equipped With:
- A Game Plan: Know why you’re attending, and what you want to get out of SyntaxCon. Then, develop a plan to accomplish your goals. Before you arrive, answer the following questions: Why am I attending? Whom do I want to meet? What do I need to accomplish? Review the schedule ahead of time and pinpoint the sessions you want to attend.
- Conversation Starters: Sometimes conference chitchat can be painful. After the standard, “What do you do?” and “Where are you from?” questions, an awkward silence typically ensues. Come prepared with conversation starters to slip in to keep the conversation going. My favorites are related to the content: “Which session was your favorite today?” or “Are you excited about any of the upcoming sessions?”
- Business Cards &/or the LinkedIn App: Business cards should be kept handy for a quick trade off, but if your new friend is on LinkedIn, using the app is an effective way to make an immediate and lasting connection.
- Mints/Gum to Share: Mints are great icebreakers. Always have some on hand, in case somebody asks for one. Or, try having one yourself while chatting in a group. Inevitably, someone will notice, become insecure about his/her breath, kick him/herself for not bringing any and ask you for one. Next, you’re chatting.
- Your 30-Second Pitch: People are going to ask you what you do. Make sure you have a clear and concise 30-second pitch that communicates who you are, what you do, and more importantly, what you are looking for. Most people say what they do, but very few say what they are looking for. Who knows, the person you happen to be talking with may be hiring.
- Portable Battery Chargers: At any conference, you rarely have time to charge your phone or tablet. With extensive social media and phone usage, you often end up with your phone being completely dead before the day is over.
How to Make the Most of the Conference:
- Take notes: After a long day of sessions and networking, its easy to forget who said what. Take notes throughout the day, during talks, and directly after conversations with people so that you can reference these later. Note-taking will also help you stay alert throughout a very long couple of days.
- Put Away the Smartphone: You’re at a conference to learn and have in-person interaction, and you don’t want your electronic devices to be a barrier to making those connections. So while you don’t have to disconnect completely, put the phone away when you’re waiting for a session to begin or taking a break at the coffee bar, and give yourself a chance to strike up conversations with the other attendees around you.
- Connect With the Speakers: The speakers at Syntax Conference are notable industry experts – they are people you want to know. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or hang around (even as the last person) at a session to say hello, tell them you loved the presentation, and grab their business cards. If you don’t get a chance to ask your question in person, you can always follow up by asking them on Twitter (their twitter handles will be listed in the program).
- Be prepared for insightful conversations: Do your homework (We’ve made it easy for you). Read the Speaker Spotlights featured on the blog for deeper insight than is offered on the individual Speaker Profiles. Print and/or review them in advance. Then, when you meet the session presenters, you can have a sincere conversation. Who knows what tidbit you find in a spotlight could spark a connection.
- Schmooze at the Happy Hour: Definitely make time to attend the conference’s Early-ish Happy Hour. It will be a great opportunity to connect with fellow developers in a more relaxed setting.
That said, we at SyntaxCon look forward to hosting you, and providing an atmosphere for developers to network in an informal learning environment.
About Syntax Conference
The Syntax Code & Craft Conference – more commonly referred to as ‘SyntaxCon’ – is Coastal South Carolina’s premier programmer’s code conference. The event is a full stack code conference focused on fostering ongoing education among the developer community, and offers language-agnostic sessions and talks across 3 main tracks:
- Front-End Development
- Back-End Development
- Platforms (game development, content management systems, cloud-hosted services and infrastructure, mobile development, and more).
The event brings together developers, both established and new, to discuss ideas, collaborate, network, socialize and explore job opportunities.
Attendees can customize their personal agenda by choosing sessions with an aim to improve their craft, fulfill goals, and learn cutting edge trends and best practices in a relatively short time.