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.