I am back on the conference circuit and went to several events lately (from 20 – 200 participants) but something has changed – ok this is a very subjective assessment because it just takes into account the 10 conferences I went to in the last 3-4 months or so.. Let’s start with the basics: conferences are mainly for networking – the content is often not that interesting, it is repetitive and speakers tend to be unprepared (which is also something I am getting annoyed with) So arguably, the most important things during conferences are the lunch and coffee breaks – and maybe the occasional drink afterwards.
And unfortunately many conference organisers (again, very subjective observation!) don’t provide two essential items to make conferences a good place for networking:
- a participant list with contact details (for follow-up emails)
- conference badges with name & organisation (to identify interesting contacts during the breaks)
So – if you are organising a conference it would be greatly appreciated if you could remember to offer these rather important networking tools.