I love speaking at conferences. I love the buzz of being infront of a crowd of people who have chosen to come to a session that I am in, who have made the effort to part with their cash and attend the conference, taking time out of their busy lives. The other part of conferenceing that I really like is meeting up with old friends and meeting lots of new and interesting people.
Over the years I have learnt a few lessons along the way since I’ve been on the conference circuit for around 8 years now. I have recently come back from Budapest where I was on the SEO Panel at the Budapest Affiliate Conference and I’m really pleased that I kept my control again.
Control .. what do I mean by that? Well its all about being able to party and socialise with a crowd of your peers and manage to get up the next morning for a good breakfast and the day ahead. I have learnt over the years to be able to go to the parties that are plying all the attendees with free drinks and to make sure that I don’t over do it.It’s not to say that I don’t drink, but its about how you drink to stay in control and know your limits.
Many of my friends will have witnessed a different Dave to this and there have been times that I have stayed up for 48 hours solid at conferences and done sessions along the way, drunk myself sober and made an arse of myself but things have to change. Perhaps I’m just getting old … or perhaps its because I am tending to go to more conferences with Becky and we get ourselves into business mode.
If people have paid good money to see me speak I kind of feel that I need to give value for money to the crowd and to the conference organisers …not that I don’t always give good value for money, I just prefer not to feel really rough while needing to think intelligently.
One other thought while I’m on the subject are the the parties at conferences. Yes they are a good opportunity to network with people but with the offering of so much free alcohol there is sometimes no wonder why the early morning sessions are low in attendance. In Budapest the main party was in one of the best clubs called the White Angel but since the noise level was so high no one can hear each other, plus with the majority of the party goers being men there never is much dancing going on. I’d suggest that if the party was to be held in a big venue like a club that the noise level could be lowered a bit to let people continue to network. But again perhaps I’m getting a bit old and serious about the business that I run with the main aim to focus on the reason why I’m actually at the conferences.
1. Get some networking in before the parties – Never be afraid to approach people and introduce yourself on the conference floor
2. Arrange to go to dinner with people as you’ll have a more focused conversation, plus you’ll not be drinking on an empty stomach
3. Throughout the day drink plenty of water / fluid as you’ll easily dehydrate during the day
4. Stick to one drink – don’t mix grape & grain
5. Know when to call it a day, and never be afraid of going off to your room – it’s not a competition to see who can stay up the latest
6. Plenty of water before you sleep, set the alarm, have headache pills at the ready and make sure you get breakfast.