I met my three best friends, Paul, Keith, and Adam, at PHP conferences.
Meeting people and making new friends is one of the major benefits of participating in a conference. I would not say that ‘the hallway track’ is the reason to attend a conference, but it is in the top 3.
The friends you make at a conference can:
Help you find an answer to a problem you are facing
Help you locate someone you need to talk to
Be your rubber duck for a problem you are having
Help you find your next job
Before you travel across the street, or around the world to participate in a conference, sit down, make a plan. Look at the speakers who will be there, and follow the conference hashtag on social media to see who has announced they are participating. Make a list of the people that you want to meet.
As you participate in the conference, look for those people. Seek them out, and make new friends.
The friends you make at a conference will last a lot longer than any knowledge you may pick up in a session.
For those of you lucky enough to attend a technical conference, you need to change your mindset.
You need to do away with the word ATTENDEE.
Attendees are passive. They show up, that is all that is expected of them.
If you want to get the most out of the conference then scratch through that word on your badge and write PARTICIPANT.
Participants are part of the conference. If all they do is show up, they have fail.
Participants get involved.
They ask questions during Q&A
They engage with the other participants at the social times
They participate in the socials and engage with other participants
They do all of this even though they are shy, or introverted, or whatever their reason is for not normally being so outgoing. Participants understand that for the conference to be good for everyone, they have to do their part.
Make the most of your next conference by seeing yourself as an integral part of the conference, a participant, not a bystander attendee.
I LOVE hosting DC4D events; they are fun. I know all the speakers personally, I know how much fun they have preparing and presenting their talks. I know a lot of the attendees as well, I know how much fun they have by just hanging out in the irc room and watching the conversation. Everybody involved in DC4D has fun; but everyone, speakers, attendees and me, all learn things too.
One of my passions in life is helping developers and DC4D is just another way that I try to help. This time DC4D helps developers learn business skills that they need whether they are on a team or freelance.