Planning on going to ServiceNow’s upcoming user conference? Be sure to review this checklist to get ready for Knowledge18…
Over the past few years I’ve attended my fair share of software development conferences, some even as a speaker. The night before every conference I find myself asking, what should I bring with me? In most cases I realize, at some point during the conference, that I forgot something. It’s then that I usually regret not planning ahead better.
With ServiceNow’s show coming up in Las Vegas in May, I decided to expand and share this checklist to help developers get ready for Knowledge18. Whether you are attending this conference or another, hopefully you’ll find it beneficial as we enter into the busy Spring trade show season. Be sure to comment with your own valuable tips and suggestions so this list is even more complete. Now here’s how to get ready for Knowledge18…
IT industry conferences like Knowledge18 offer many opportunities to advance your career. Specifically, they are great places to expand your networking, discover new technologies, learn best practices, be inspired by your peers, improve your speaking skills, recruit new talent, job search for yourself, or simply enjoy a beneficial time-out from everyday work.
If you really want to make the most out of your next summit or seminar, you must plan ahead to accomplish whatever your specific objectives may be.
Book Your Schedule
- Print your schedule and highlight the sessions you want to attend, the exhibits you want to visit, and the speakers you want to meet. This will help to use your time efficiently.
- If there’s a talk you’re interested in that’s expected to be full or takes place at a remote lecture hall, consider attending the session directly beforehand to be sure you save your seat.
- Many larger conferences offer a mobile app these days to encourage social sharing among attendees. While these apps can be good or bad, it’s worth it to download and at least try them out.
- You’re not married to your schedule – feel free to take longer breaks between sessions and utilize them for networking or anything else you find useful.
Learn an Elevator Pitch
Prepare a quick five-second intro to describe yourself when you meet other people. Prepare another, more extended 30-second version, for people who want to know more. If your job hunting, you’ll want folks to understand what you specialize in, where you’ve worked and what you’ve accomplished. If you’re on the job, be sure to include what your product does, for whom, and the benefits and value it delivers.
Find Your Next Job
- Know your social handle on sites like GitHub, Twitter and LinkedIn. I know that among software developers they are the best business cards.
- Speaking of business cards, bring a handful along with you. At most shows the badge scanner has replace the fish bowl of business cards. However it’s still a nice personal touch after a conversation you’ve enjoyed, plus you can write a few notes on it to help the person recall who you are later.
- Don’t necessarily bring printed copies of your resume, but having a couple copies with you just in case. Make sure you have them ready to send via email.
General Packing Checklist
- Laptop and power cable, but only if you really think you’ll use it. Carrying a few extra pounds of gear around all day between packed rooms isn’t much fun. A tablet can be a decent replacement.
- Charger for your mobile phone, preferably one that connects to your laptop. A portable power supply is strongly recommended. It sucks having to fight over the two wall plugs in a conference room.
- Notebook with two pens. For some people, typing their notes will distract from what’s happening on the stage.
- Space in your backpack for swag. Fewer shows hand out tote bags these days since more product collateral is electronic.
- Mints or breath strips over gum, for those networking chats – and avoid onions and garlic at lunch!
- Comfortable shoes. You’ll be on your feet a lot and may walk long distances between sessions.
Consider a Speaking Slot
If you’re ready to step up your game – become a speaker at the next conference.
The personal benefits of speaking at conferences are obvious. However, if done right it can also provide immense value to your company. For companies looking to establish themselves as industry leaders, encouraging employees to submit talks to conferences is a great way to achieve it. BigPanda believes in true community contribution and fulfills that mission by sponsoring conferences, encouraging employees to submit talks, walking them through the process, and even promoting their talks once accepted.
Got accepted? Congratulations!
Here’s your Speaker Checklist:
- VGA cable adapter (especially if you’re using Mac)
- Wireless presenter/laser
- Portable USB with a copy of your slides, in addition to a cloud backup (Google Drive, Dropbox or whatever you use)
- A printed copy of your slides with the speaker notes, so you can rehearse without having your laptop in front of you
- Giveaways and company SWAG — stickers, T-shirts, etc.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it. As you get ready for Knowledge18, other ideas may surface. Feel free to comment and suggest tips and tricks from your own experience.