Thursday, November 06, 2014

Girls' Guide to Conferences

First BlogHER conference 2004
If you're attending the #WebSummit in Dublin or thinking of heading to Paris for #LeWeb, I've got some advice for women at conferences. There are things that can make it way more fun.

(BTW, here's a photo of the BlogHER Conference where you will likely NOT get into too much trouble. Just wanted to say congrats to them, as they were bought for $30-$40M this week!  Way to go!)

1. Don't drink! I know you'll get lots of chances to drink free booze, lots of guys wanting to buy you drinks, lots of meals where beer or wine make sense, but I'm telling you, it's a very good idea NOT to drink. The person who doesn't drink gets to hear a lot of drunken people tell a lot of secrets they shouldn't be telling, as well as the obvious fact that it keeps you from going back to the hotel with some idiot you should not go to the hotel with. Also, it means you'll be fresh in the morning. Certainly hold a drink in your hand or have a glass in front of your plate which is full of wine or beer, so you LOOK like you're drinking, but believe me, you'll be glad you didn't drink.

2. Don't sleep with anyone. Bring a stuffed animal and sleep with him.

3. Set up a co-ed team of friends to hang with at the conference. Conferences have gotten so big now, you need to plan your own mini-conference with your own team of pals way before you arrive. Meet every morning for a breakfast to compare notes and get your team assembled. This gives you time to check in with others and find out if there are new fun things you might want to add to your day. Make sure you have guys on your team in case some guy is trying to bother you, they can tell him to get lost.

4. Write your own schedule for "Must-See" sessions. Prepare a schedule way ahead of time. Limit it to 3 sessions a day. When you are there at the conference and people suggest other sessions, think about how far away they might be and if they are really worth it.

5. Have an objective. I often decide that meeting one particular person I've been eager to meet is enough for a conference, even if 200,000 are actually attending. Who cares. Plan to meet one person who matters and make sure you do that.

6. Don't do drugs in foreign countries. Do I have to even SAY this? Nobody wants to read your blog from a foreign prison, especially your family.

7. Take comfortable shoes.

8. Take a coat with a hood. (No need to carry an umbrella which you will lose anyway.)

9. Add a day up front to your schedule to get over jet lag.

10. Remember you can have your phone or laptop stolen anywhere in seconds -- especially when you're tired or jet lagged.

Labels: , , , ,