I love travelling, who does not? But, I love even more to travel and attend an event where I go. In the last two years I travelled a lot around the world, from America to various countries in Europe, attending WordCamps and other events, and I learned many things about them and how to get the best out of them.
I will share my thought here with you about what I think people should do when attending an event to get the most out of it.
Every time I attend an event, I see people going to the registration desk with their luggage and with a lot of stuff. I’m surprised I still do not see people wearing the pyjamas they used to travel (consider the idea to not take a flight in a pyjamas, really, it’s ridiculous).
Don’t do it!.
Don’t travel on the same day of the event, neither to come nor to leave.
Always try to take a flight/train the day before the event, and leave the day after.
Travelling is tiring, and you should have enough sleep before to attend the event to rest and wake up in the morning refreshed.
The same is for when you are leaving. If you leave on the last day of the event, you are probably going to miss part of it, or the after-party, which is always a great opportunity to meet interesting people and friends.
Travel the day after instead.
What to Bring With You
I don’t want to suggest here stuff that might be helpful for travels, there are other blogs that know more than me and I suggest you to go there to find out those info.
But, when attending an event, is important to have some things that will come handy at any time:
- A bag. Especially at WordCamps there will be many sponsors with their swag. You don’t want to leave them there, don’t you? Make sure to have something where to put them, a shopping bag or a backpack would work.
- An extra battery. You will take notes and pictures all the time with your phone/tablet. Make sure to have a portable battery with you so you can charge it when needed.
- Business cards. You will meet many people. Bring your business cards with you, the chances that you will find a partner for your new company, or a potential member for your team are high. Leave them your contacts.
- A water bottle. It’s very important to stay hydrated during the day. Drink a lot, and always have water with you. At some events they give you bottles (like the amazing Woo Water bottle that we had at WCEU 2016), but it does not always happen. Make sure to have yours.
These are the must have when attending an event. Again, I didn’t write about all the other things that would be useful for a generic travel.
The last tip here is to not bring things that you are not going to use. Notebooks? Why would you bring a notebook if you always use your phone to take notes? Snacks? There will be snacks all day at the venue, there’s no need to waste space for them and to bring more weight on your shoulders.
At The Venue
I hate being late, so I always try to go to the venue early. I’m almost always the first there (in Moscow I arrived at the venue even before the organiser).
Consider that, since you probably do not know the city where you are, you could have problems to find and reach the venue. Make sure to have enough time to go from the place where you are staying to the event venue. When you find it, go somewhere near and have a breakfast, unless it is provided at the venue already. Having a good breakfast is a key point when attending an event where you will be moving around and talking to people all the time.
Before The Event Begins
Go to the registration desk as soon as possible and get your badge and, eventually, a t-shirt as well.
Most probably many people will be already there before to opening time, so organisers will let you in before. Take advantage of that time to have breakfast at the venue if you didn’t have it already, read your emails if you were planning to do it later in the date, or start meeting people.
During The Event
Why do you go to events? To attend the talks, right?
Well, I don’t. I go to events to meet people. I attend talks as well, unless I’m a sponsor, but that’s not my primary goal, and I only attend those that I really want to listen.
At events there will be people from other countries and cities, they are all interesting and everyone has a story to share with you. Talk with as many people as you can, ask them questions, give them your business cards and get theirs.
The changes that you are going to meet a new partner, make loyal customers, or friends, are really high.
Attend talks as well, but I’d not put too much focus on that. If you have a hole in the schedule because there’s not really a talk that interests you, use that time to meet people or to meet the sponsors (and get their swag).
After The Event
If there’s an after-party or just drinks all together, make sure to not miss it. After a day of talking about WordPress people will probably want to talk about something else, and you can learn more about them under other aspects.
I met very nice people at after-parties which before I considered annoying instead.
Also, how can you say no to a free beer? Just don’t get drunk, especially if you are going to travel the day after. It’s not a good idea to travel being drunk or with a headache. Take it easy.
I don’t have suggestions here. Just do as you would normally do when travelling. Wake up early enough, take it easy, don’t rush and make sure to not miss your flight/train.
This is all I have to suggest for attending events. You’ll find what works for you and what not with the time. The suggestions above are what I think it’s important, and what works for me. It does not necessarily means that they will work for you.
I hope this article was helpful, and if you are going to any WordCamp until the end of this year, make sure to meet me! I’ll attend WordCamp Bucharest and WordCamp Milano in October, you’ll find me at the WooCommerce booth.
I hope to see you there!