Do a Conference the Right Way

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Conferences are an enorhuge* part of today’s world, yes they are. They’re a great way to network and pack a lot of information into your brain in a short period of time. While terrific, this can also be overwhelming. You’re going to need a way to counteract all that stress, so read on, my friend.

First off, you’ll have to check in somewhere to get your name tag. Make sure that when you wear it, it never faces out. It’s fun to see peoples’ eyes dart down to see who you are and then register bewilderment when they’re met with a blank tag. Or better yet, draw something lewd on the back.

You’ll be doing a lot of shaking hands and introducing yourself, even with the name tag, so be prepared. To lie, that is. Most peoples’ real identities are completely boring, so do everyone a favor and make something up. At blogging conferences, I like to introduce myself as the Pioneer Woman.

Soon the conference will begin. Everyone will settle into their seats for a long, productive day, and energy is buzzing. Wait for about 20 minutes into the first speaker to raise your hand and ask when the conference is going to begin. Poker face, please.

During your first quick break, insist that your table plays musical chairs, and the one person left without a chair must leave the conference. This makes things fun and dangerous, and will also wake everyone up after the horribly boring speaker you just endured. Your second break can be “Duck, Punch, Goose”.

Sneak away at some point to check out the swag bags. (These are common at blogging conferences- maybe not so much at pharmaceutical conferences?) Bring your giant purse with you, because you will have stockpiled lots of little prizes to sneak into the bags. Ideas: kazoos, ABC gum, open bags of glitter, cigarettes, condoms, apples, ketchup packets, and silverware.

Leave secret notes on peoples’ chairs when no one’s looking. You can bring a whole room down pretty quickly with a few little words.


Raise your hand halfway through the last speaker to see if they can “speed things up a bit”. You noticed they weren’t keeping on schedule very well.

As you are exiting the conference, you’ll notice how many business cards you have left, and how many people probably haven’t had the pleasure of receiving your business cards. Three words: Make it Rain.

If you are staying at the hotel where the conference is held, enjoy it. Revert back to your role as helpless child and luxuriate in the fact that you needn’t clean up after yourself or even act like an adult.

  • If you find a strange hair on your bed sheets when you whip the comforter back, call the front desk screeching and crying hysterically. They’ll change that bedding pretty fast, and you can bet somebody will be wearing a damn hair net.
  • Rearrange the furniture to your liking. Don’t be shy! Feng shui, baby.
  • Call down to the front desk periodically just to make sure everyone didn’t evacuate the hotel without telling you.
  • Wake up super early on the morning of your departure and crouch by your door. As soon as your bill is slipped under the door, shove it back out. That way you won’t have to pay it.

All in all, conferences are great vehicles for lifting you out of your daily routine and injecting a bit of inspiration, so make sure when you return home, you make thank you scrap books to send to all of the speakers with outlines of what they could have said and done to make the conference more enjoyable for you.

* I think it’s time we had a new term for something really big, so feel free to adopt this into your vocabulary.



  1. 05/02/2012 / 3:59 am

    OMG we have to go to a conference together. At Blissdom, I just did one inappropriate thing after another. I NEED COMRADES. Going to Type A, by any chance?

  2. 05/02/2012 / 8:16 am

    I would slaughter kitties to be able to go to type A or Blogher this year, but it's not in the cards. You can probably count on me for next year, though.

  3. 05/02/2012 / 10:11 am

    Huh! I have been hanging out with the wrong people at conferences. No wonder it was a tad boring. You going to BlogHer? Let me know so I can sign up for the sessions. We can tag them them with your antics.

  4. 05/02/2012 / 10:25 am

    I am not going to BlogHer this year, and I am sad, sad, sad. I hope next year it is in the Midwest.

  5. 05/02/2012 / 11:24 am

    Laugh out loud!!! I have been to a few in my day (not blogging ones though) and they would have been a lot more fun if I read this first!

  6. 05/02/2012 / 11:59 am

    Make it Rain – Lol !! That one cracked me up !!
    The next time you attend a conference, I would love to be there with you 😀 !!

  7. 05/02/2012 / 12:18 pm

    I like to mix things up at the business conferences I attend with my husband, on the rare occasions he invites me. I like your name tag idea – it's the perfect way to break the ice, even for the socially awkward.

  8. 05/02/2012 / 12:47 pm

    I love the tip about calling to be sure the hotel hasn't evacuated. How many lives would it save if EVERYONE EVER took this simple precaution?

  9. 05/02/2012 / 1:13 pm

    I hope everyone there appreciated you mad genius. Did you tell them? Repeatedly? Good.

  10. 05/03/2012 / 1:02 pm

    How many conferences have I been to where I really wanted to ask the speaker to speed things up!! Hadn't thought about crouching by the door to avoid the bill getting pushed in. I like that. Maybe bringing your own little pillow thing that stops drafts to prevent them from pushing the bill under the door would work even better. Then you can sleep in.

  11. 05/03/2012 / 2:35 pm

    Hilarious, especially considering that chick told Tiffany to stop talking!! Did you see the look on her face??? She looked like she was about to breathe fire across the room and set that girl on fire!

  12. 05/03/2012 / 4:15 pm

    Hi, this really made me laugh. Love your post!

  13. 05/04/2012 / 10:00 am

    Clearly, I've been partying with the wrong people… you'll be at BlogHer 12, won't you? Oh, this could be so epic!

  14. 05/05/2012 / 2:08 am

    Ooooh- the pillow idea is so good. You'd have to move all the furniture away from the door first. True story: I added that part in about speeding things up because someone actually did that at my recent conference.

  15. 05/05/2012 / 2:15 am

    That was CRAZY. I bet she's never heard that before at a conference. She handled it really well, too.

  16. 05/05/2012 / 2:17 am

    Argh! No BlogHer this year for me, but why don't you Skype me during the conference and I can see what sorts of antics I can pull via the web.

  17. 05/07/2012 / 3:10 am

    My son pointed at your drawing of "scissors" and said "Elephant!"

    P.S. You always make me laugh. 🙂 Thanks!

  18. 05/07/2012 / 6:02 pm

    I've been looking for scissors like that for a long time.

  19. 05/08/2012 / 7:40 am

    I am doing the blank name tag! Also pushing the bill back under the door.

  20. 05/10/2012 / 2:36 pm

    Note to self: always attend conferences with Jeanette but carefully consider inviting Jeanette to a conference you're responsible for. Oh, and if Jeanette is responsible for the conference, don't miss it.

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