I just finished attending Comic Con this past weekend (my third year in a row) and am headed off to an SCBWI Writer’s Conference today (my second year in a row, fourth time attending a writer’s conference). Although BlogWorld & New Media Expo fits somewhere in between these as far as scope and amount of attendees, I figure my tips (from these conferences and the others I’ve attended in the past) should be of help to some of you.
I’m a planner by nature, so when it comes to conferences I scour the conference tracks and the exhibit schedule. I research the speakers and exhibitors, and put together a plan of where I’m going to go and when. But it’s not only the event itself that needs planning … it’s travel arrangements, parking, bringing snacks to munch on, packing a jacket for the freezing cold conference rooms (and they are always freezing!) and of course what to wear to the parties.
Sometimes you can’t fit it all in. There’s no way. It might be two panels at the same time or a book signing on the expo floor at the same time as a speaker in another room. You have to prioritize. Pick one, two, or maybe three things that you want to make sure to hit during a particular day, and plan around it. With Comic Con it’s pretty insane – you may choose a panel as your top priority, and then realize you’ll need to go park it in Hall H all day, just to make sure you see it! With a large event, you definitely need to plan for lines and crowds.
Prepare For Anything:
I can’t stress enough how much you need to be prepared – and this will be completely based on what your goals are for the conference. If you’re taking pictures, bring an extra camera battery! If you’re live blogging, bring along your charger and make sure you have Internet access. If you are networking, make sure you’ve got a ton of business cards (I have a major fail on this one for my upcoming conference). If you want a book signed, make sure to pack it with you!
Image Source: SXC