Conference Survival Guide

A memory trick to never forget a face. Why you should eat dinner more than once. Whether you’re a conference novice or ninja, we’re confident you’ll enjoy the collective wisdom of our crack team of event-goers. (And if you’ve been tasked to find the ideal meeting spot, check out 5 Memorable Meeting Venues.)

Danielle_150x150Danielle Pitonyak: Hotel Partnerships

Stay at smaller property during a show. I stayed at the Marriott Marquis in San Diego before GBTA a few years back. There was about a 15 minute wait just to get down the elevator if you were trying to be there for the start of the show. And same on the way home. It is a mob scene, and after hours of walking from one speaker to the next with thousands of people.  It would feel really nice to go home to a more intimate setting.

Kristine_150x150Kristine Lehew: Hotel Partnerships

Always wear something memorable: Everyone always says you should wear boring suits—I wear a black and brown suede dress with high boots that are comfy. I hate the dress but people remember it every time.
Stay through the final ceremonies. Half the people leave, but that’s when you can get one-on-one time, because everyone’s always more relaxed at the end.
Team up with someone of the opposite sex to score more invites to networking parties. It may sound sexist, but for whatever reason it works: a woman may be more likely to score invites from a man giving out passes or vice versa.

Alison_150x150Alison Gruber: Partner Advocacy

Be the dinner time hero. I make a reservation for 10 in advance so I have it as an option, instead of waiting until everyone’s standing around Yelping at the last minute while they’re starving.
Write a celebrity lookalike on the back of their card, so you can remember what they look like next time you see them. It works!

Charlie_150x150Charlie Butt: Hotel Partnerships

Introduce yourself to the organizer early. Say hello and congratulate her or him on doing a great job. That makes it easy to ask for introductions later.
Eat several times. Grab a plate full of food, go to a table and say “may I join you”, and if conversation’s going well, stay. If not, get up, grab another plate of food, and head for a new table.

Agi_150x150Agi Gerner: Partner Advocacy

Stay out late. It’s not wasting time—it’s bonding. Your partners in crime will pick up the phone for you forever after.

Lisa_150x150Lisa Cousins: Partner Advocacy

Be in the moment. Put up your OOO so you feel okay being absorbed in the conference, and so your office or teammates don’t feel ignored.

Emily_150x150Emily McFadden: Marketing

Bring a fine-tip Sharpie. You’ll be exchanging business cards rapid fire and you’ll want to write a quick note to remember who is who. However, everyone these days has the high-gloss business cards (with Teflon technology?) that repel ink form your ballpoint. So you end up having to carve your notes in maniacally with the tip of your pen.  You end up with really crummy notes and exploding pens. Plus if anyone saw cards scratched up with that fervor, you’d be branded a psychopath. Don’t risk it. Bring a sharpie. It can handle the slickest of cards.

AT&T Executive Education Center in downtown Austin, TX
AT&T Executive Education Center in downtown Austin, TX


One thought on “Conference Survival Guide

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s