Simon Willison’s Weblog


How to maximize the conference experience as an attendee?

29th May 2012

My answer to How to maximize the conference experience as an attendee? on Quora

Talk to people.

Everyone at a conference is there because they want to meet other people, so get stuck in and have as many conversations as possible.

It can feel a bit awkward to start a conversation with a complete stranger, but conferences are an environment where it’s completely OK to do exactly that. Queuing for registration / lunch is a great time to strike up a conversation with a stranger—ask them what they thought of the event so far, what areas of your field they are interested in, or just ask what they do if you can’t think of anything else.

Once you’ve started talking to people, keep an eye out for opportunities to make high quality introductions—if you find two people who you think should talk, introduce them to each other!

If you’re having a particularly fascinating conversation, skip the next session and keep talking. The corridor track is the best track of almost any conference you can go to.