What are your top tips on attending in-person conferences?

With TestBash UK just around the corner, we’ve written some tips on how to comfortably return to in-person conferences in this blog post.

What are your tips and tricks that make attending in-person events easier for you?

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I always try to pick my lunch table based on whether I want to talk to people or if I need a little break to quietly recharge. This isn’t guaranteed, but it’s worked out generally in the past for me.

Tables with individual attendees that don’t know each other are generally quiet. You might get a little bit of conversation, but it tends be pretty low key. An energetic talker can definitely steer it away from quiet though.

Tables with paired attendees tend to have a good conversation. There’s enough familiarity for people to feel confident chatting, even if it’s just amongst themselves, and you can usually bring a conversation to the table.

Tables nearly full with a bunch of people from the same company will have lots of conversation, but they tend focus on the team. These are good if you’re looking to just sit and listen, without providing much back.

Occasionally you’ll find the opportunity to sit with presenters and organizers. These tend to have lively conversations and are a good place to listen and learn. Keep in mind that these can also be a little enclosed as people tend to know each other and it can feel a lot like the previous table where everyone works together.

Make deliberate choices based on what you want to get out of the conference. Lunch is no exception.

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I wrote a blog post on networking at events recently

For me personally is taking the time to get some space if need be. At past testbashes I’ve gone for short walks around the block to get a bit of a breather

https://nicolalindgren.com/2022/09/13/8-tips-for-networking-at-events/

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That is one excellent blog post, @deament. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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For me, I love to soak in the energy of it all! I’ve been fortunate to have attended 3 US TestBashes, and I went by myself. I think this helped me step out of my comfort zone and meet new people. The MoT community is full of amazing and welcoming people! In addition to going out for drinks and dinner with folks, I’ve brought and played board/card games and even saw a movie with my new friends. :rofl:

As for the conference, you get out of it what you put into it. So during the talks, take notes and/or pics, listen and be encouraged to speak up and ask questions. Talk with the speakers and organizers later on too.

Lastly, definitely do a 99-Second talk!!! :slight_smile: This would have never happened if I didn’t attend the pre-conference happy hour and sat down next to Rosie (FounderBoss), who I didn’t know at the time. She encouraged me to share my topic. :slight_smile: Thanks again, Rosie! :wink:

  • Don’t fear uour peer.
    Some people really want to talk, but are a bit shy. I tend tt start a talk with a question like “What did you like about the last talk you attended?”.
    I know some speakers who like some small talk. It is even possibile to make a short list of people who you want to meet. In one case I sent a DM fot s chat.
  • Bounce off some ideas.
    “You use automation tools. In my company we want to use the following method (…) It this usedful?”
    At somse conferences I showed my blog posts with lots of pictures on my mobile. “Then you got a situation like this.” Some people prefer visual information over verbal information.
  • Attend activities.
    Things like Lean coffee and games offer other ways to meet other people.
  • Ask questions.
    “Do you know some one who is familiar with this tool?”