"What I’ve come to learn is that the true value of tech conferences is not in the sessions. It is in the people that you meet."
With that understanding, the blog Quarter Spiral went into a list of 5 Steps to Doing Tech Conferences Right. The following are the key takeaways.
Brain Trust: The value of being at a tech conference is that you are surrounded by people with shared professional interests and goals.
People, not PD: On paper, the purpose of tech conferences is to develop your professional knowledge and skills by attending lessons from experts in the field. But whenever I run into friendly faces in the halls of these events, I find that we talk about what lectures we walked out of...
Don't Drink Too Much: Yup, apparently a big one at tech conferences (that's right, the Big Android BBQ did include all-you-can-drink beer). Moderating your drinking is important for two reasons. You are more likely to make quality connections at industry parties instead of making a fool of yourself or forgetting to follow up on important conversations. Also, for multi day events, you will be able to maximize the next day and be in better shape to say hello and meet new people.
Follow up: Meeting people is just the start; your true goal is to develop long lasting, high value relationships.
Don't Pitch: Few things are as irksome at conferences than when another attendee focuses on selling you. Don’t pitch yourself. Instead, have a normal human conversation, get to know someone a little and get their card. You can pitch them later on, after you’ve started to form a relationship by following up with a LinkedIn invitation and having a few back and forths on Twitter.
Image (CC) hawaii