With just a few weeks to go to J and Beyond it’s time to start your preparations. A few minutes spent reading this check list will have a lasting and beneficial effect on your experience at the event.
If you have other suggestions then please share them in the comments.
Badges are small and eyesight is bad so don’t make people squint to see who you are. If you have a product then don’t assume that everyone will connect your personal name with your product. If you really want to meet people make yourself easily identifiable and memorable.
Business cards might be considered to be old fashioned and too corporate but they are essential. It’s quicker to share your details on a card than to use a high-tech solution. We all have lots of devices that can store contact details but do you really want to “whip it out” when you have your hands full with a coffee and a snack. A good idea is to include a photo so that people can put a face to your name once the event is over.
You don't need to tweet and facebook all the time. Get your head out of your laptop, ipad and cell phone - the people you "need" to be interacting with are right there in front of you.
Don’t be afraid
No one is so “special” that you can’t go up to them. You don’t need to wait for them to speak to you or for someone to make an introduction. Go up to them and introduce yourself. Just think carefully about your opening line. Remember everyone is here to learn and have fun so they probably won’t appreciate it if your opening line is “hey I have a problem with your ...”
Leave that to the second sentence at least.
Have a hit list
This is your opportunity to meet the people that you only know online. Perhaps it’s just to say thank you or to ask a question or make a suggestion. You don’t want to go home and suddenly remember that important thing you forgot to do.
No the entire globe doesnt use the same power adapter (plug) and no matter what you do you won’t be able to force a UK 3 pin into a European round 2 pin socket. Remember that you will probably need to recharge during the day and that there are never enough wall sockets. If you bring a multi-socket adapter with you then you will make friends for life.
It’s great to travel with just a small carry-on bag and sail through the airport laughing at everyone stood in line waiting for their baggage to “hopefully” come of the carousel. But don’t forget that at most events there will be many promotional items and t-shirts for you to take home and you need to squeeze those into your bag for the return trip.
I think my record for an event is 7 t-shirts, 3 stress balls, 2 drinks cups and a device from Microsoft that looks like it belongs in the bedroom for adult use only.
You are going to be away from your desk and computer for a much longer time than you are used to. The human body is perfectly capable of standing for long periods of time but placing all that weight on two rarely used pedal extremities may result in one of two unfortunate consequences.
An event is not the place to wear a new pair of shoes and if your shoes are not comfortable then this may result in blisters and soreness. But that’s your problem not mine. The second consequence is much more of an issue for me. Feet need to breath and if you cover them in polyester and cage them up in a tight pair of shoes they will start to produce an aroma that you really don’t want to share.
Emergency Medical Supplies
You’re probably not used to regular Vocal fold oscillation. So speaking to people, away from the keyboard, for long periods of time may have adverse effects. Bringing a supply of throat lozenges with you will not only reduce the the inflammation but if you share them around you will be very popular. (Of course some people like me don’t suffer from this problem - sorry)
You may have travelled half way across the globe to be at the event and you don’t want to miss anything but try to avoid the temptation to stay up all night solving Joomla and the World’s problems.
At some point the jet lag and lack of sleep will combine to smack you hard across the face with a wet fish and you will end up missing some of the things you came to the event specifically for.
Know your limits
This is the hardest one of all and needs lots of serious research and practice. No one wants to be stuck in a conversation with someone who has had far too much to drink. I know "you love me", that "we will be friends forever" and that "I am awesome" but I really don't need you to be slobbering over me and telling me that.