I love conferences for my business. They keep me motivated, help me learn about new programs and opportunities in my field and I get to network with amazing people who do what I do! However, there are those little nuances that can make a conference meal or breakout session unbearable because of the lack of courtesy from other conference-goers! Here are a few quick tips to keep your Conference Kindness at 100!
1. Always be friendly! This should go without saying, but be back breakingly friendly. This will serve you later!
2. Listen to people when they are talking. Do not be so star struck by a speaker or somebody who is well known in your industry that you are rude to somebody else. You would want the same respect.
3. Do not apply make-up or comb your hair at the table. After all you will probably eat there. A quick lipstick reapplication after a meal is not a deal breaker, but a mirror is.
4. Do not be late to sessions and if you are come in quietly and sit in the back.
5. Do not eat in your sessions. You are at a conference to learn not to munch, and you ARE disturbing the person that you are sitting next to.
6. Come with lots of business cards/promotional material and freely distribute it. Do not happily give to one person and then hold back from another. This will make you look very unprofessional.
7. Do not be over clingy with one person. It is sometimes difficult to say to somebody, "I need to shake you because I am here to meet new people." Tag-a-longs are irritants.
8. Unless you are in an interactive session, do not talk to the person sitting next to you. This is very disturbing to the presenter and it distracts the people sitting around the both of you. You are here to work, but if you must convey a message do so electronically or write a note out to them.
9. Do not steal swag. If there are extras they will be distributed. If you pickup all of the extras of an item (more than the one that was put at your place setting) you are probably taking the conference gift of somebody that forgot theirs or left it in good will hoping that they could come back to it.
10. Turn your phone off. Okay, so I know that you are not going to turn your phone off BUT...please remember to SILENCE it. Even vibrate is NOT enough if you are sitting at a table and your phone is on the table top. Whenever you get a text, email or any notification the phones vibration and "vibe sound" may distract your conference mates and they could miss something valuable.
Be Conference Kind!!