Conference Season is Upon Us

By September 6, 2018Events

Summer is over, it is the Thursday after Labor Day and conference season is upon us.

Are you ready?

Here are some of my personal thoughts juxtaposed against other folks.

HubSpot Post
18 Helpful Tips for Getting the Most Out of an Industry Conference

By Leslie Ye

I liked her post. It was well organized and very matter of fact | practical. I would follow all of her pointers except the details in #9: Dress Nice.

She writes: “Maybe this already occurred to you. There are rarely dress codes at industry events, but looking sharp with a nice button-down shirt or shiny shoes allows you to put your best foot forward (no pun intended) when you encounter businesses and professionals on whom you want to make a good impression.”

My two cents…

One always wants to look nice but you  need to dress to the audience. A button-down shirt and polished shoes seems outdated, unless you are in finance, sales or a member of the CxO bench. Most lead developer,s CTOs or young CEOs would not be caught dead wearing a button down with shiny shoes. They would be in something like a hip shirt and cool sneakers (aka Adidas, Vans or the like). It’s the new uniform in technology land.

For example, I was in a meeting the other day with the head of marketing and former Googler with a very cool company in SF. This guy exuded cool and would not be caught dead in a button down or polished shoes, and would probably not hire someone who dressed this way. A lot of decisions makers these days are young, up and comers that are coming out of Amazon, Facebook, Google and the list goes on – they are “hot shot” men and women that are making 40 under 40 lists.

One thing to note is that Leslie Ye’s sartorial advice was directed to men, and I am confident that this was a small oversight.There are now a lot of women attending conferences   and as one of these people,, I personally rock sneakers with a comfortable “stretchy jeans (thank goodness for the jegging) and stylish top. This allows me to walk all day long in total comfort, look professional and dare I say it, kind of hip (or at least I hope).

Sales Hacker
An Unconventional, Yet Effective Guide To Making Your Conference Visit Count in 2018

By Ross Simmonds

I loved this post. There were many fabulous elements to it, however here were my two favorites.

#4. You can Literally Walk Up To Anyone And Start Talking, And They’ll Likely Be Cool With It

I am personally an extravert. However, there are a lot of introverts that attend these conferences. This conference tip is so accurate. When folks go to a conference, they already have a common ground and a common interest. For the most party, everyone is nice and easy going. So, just go for it…get your network on.

#7 Don’t Be Creepy/Stalkerish

It is all too true. Because conferences are filled with a lot of folks that one doesn’t know and a lot of alcohol, things can go South quickly. Please be careful when attending a conference. And, this is not coming from the voice of a woman. While there are women in technology, no ifs and or buts, the conference still have a highly male demographic. There is an opportunity to creep a person out or find not just your next leed, but maybe your next best friend or more.  

8. Wait Until Speakers Have A Moment To Recoup Before Approaching Them

A few weeks ago, I attended the San Diego Venture Group 16th Annual Venture Summit. There was a fabulous VC by the name of Dafina Toncheva. When she got off the stage there was a line of people trying to get in front of her. She was beyond pleasant with all these enthusiastic entrepreneurs that were eager to pitch their idea. A few fell under #7 – super close talkers that appeared a bit pushy. I get it though, when one has the opportunity to get in front of a VC and pitch their idea in a hot one minute – why not. However, there really is a place and a time.

Now…I hope everyone is getting ready and enjoys the upcoming Fall Conference Season. The line up for most of our clients is the following:

  • TechCrunch DISRUPT, Around the corner
  • MSFT Ignite, I personally love MSFT and respect the job Satya Nadella has done in reinvigorating the company
  • DreamForce, You go Mr. Benioff and I respect you too, thank you for what you’ve given to the city of San Francisco and beyond
  • Oracle OpenWorld + JavaOne, an original disrupter
  • AWS re:Invent, Amazon – what would we do without you

Best of luck networking!

Kathleen Shanahan

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