To all the conference-goers out there, we’d like to pose a question. What’s your mission?
With so many benefits of attending and goals to focus on during a conference, choosing just one can be a tall order. And with Alliance 2017 around the corner, you might be asking yourself: Should you network and make connections with smart people? Or should you stick to learning and diligently take notes during the breakout sessions?
Whatever it is that you're hoping to accomplish, we've carved out personas for the 8 types of conference-goers you're most likely to meet or embody. We've all met at least one, and understanding them can help you figure out your goals for attending.
So which type of conference attendee are you? Check out the list below to find out.
1. The Networker
Mission: Meet smart people.
The networker aims to meet and make lasting connections with other industry professionals. Chances are, they have a lot of connections on social media and have connected to attendees through the conference hashtag ahead of time.
The networker is likely to be found chatting up multiple groups of people during the opening reception or industry dinner, handing out business cards, or making real-time LinkedIn connections. But if this conference-goer sounds like you, just make sure you're up-to-date on your networking game -- common mistakes are easier to make than you might think.
2. The Sponge
Mission: Learn everything possible.
The sponge attends conferences to soak up every ounce of knowledge that he or she can. You’ll probably see this person juggling a laptop, smartphone, and notebook, all while diligently taking notes -- or live-tweeting -- from each.
But for the sponge, the struggle is real -- how can you possibly decide which sessions to attend? I mean, they're all just so great!
3. The Collector
Mission: Accumulate a stockpile of free swag.
Also known as the "Trick-or-Treater," this person hops around sponsor exhibits and the registration table collecting as much free swag or candy as they can. I mean, sometimes all you really need in life is a free koozie. Oh, and a sticker. And a pen. And a little box filled to the brim with gummy candies.
Sure, this person might've come to a conference to learn and bring back information to their team, but they're definitely not going to skimp on the free stuff while they have a chance. You'll likely see this attendee arrive with a half-full carry on suitcase that magically becomes full for their return trip.
4. The Superfan
Mission: Meet the keynote speakers.
The superfan is also super active when it comes to conference-related social media activity. This person never forgets to include the speaker's Twitter handle in hopes that he or she will retweet or reply -- for example, tweeting with event's hashtag that they’re “so excited to meet @speaker.” Not that we've ever done that, or anything. And if there’s a chance to meet the speaker at the conference the superfan is first in line with every piece of memorabilia he or she can find. Again ... not that we've ever done that ...
(Superfan PSA: This year's Alliance Keynote lineup will be released shortly! Stay posted and check your inbox for more information!)
5. The Escape Artist
Mission: Get of work.
The Escape Artist is really looking for a Get Out of Work Free card without using any vacation time. Sure, they might learn a thing or two and meet a few interesting people, but playing hooky is their main mission. You'll probably find The Escape Artist popping into a few talks, jotting down a few notes, and then leaving early to enjoy the sunshine or slipping away to their hotel room to take a nap.
Pro Tip: If you relate to this mission, remember that you can get a break from your day-to-day job while still bringing back a ton of value for your team. If you need ideas for how to get the most out of your conference experience, take a look at this blog post.
6. The Teacher
Mission: Relay knowledge to teammates.
Okay, so maybe we don't mean "teacher" in the conventional sense. Rather, this person is the one you send to the conference to return with the best takeaways.
Like the sponge, the teacher takes excellent notes, and then relays them back to the team. If you have a company wiki, he or she will likely create a page on there with the lessons and best practices from the conference, or even give a presentation upon return.
7. The Frugal Tourist
Mission: Vacation for free.
One of the great benefits of attending a conference is that your company will usually pay for your flights and hotel room. The Frugal Tourist understands this strategy all too well and will optimize her trip to include a bit of sightseeing while she's there.
A word to the wise: This probably shouldn't be your sole mission for attending a conference, but hey if you can tack on a vacation to the end of a super productive week ... go for it! We're all about that work hard, play hard lifestyle. Just make sure you use good judgment and bring back a ton of value for your team before you start strolling the Harbourfront on the company's dime.
8. The Partier
Mission: Have fun.
We conclude with the inevitable conference partier -- the person who takes advantage of every social aspect, entertainment portion, and free drink available.
We all have a little bit of a partier in us -- many of us find that it helps us to break the ice during otherwise awkward or uncomfortable silences. But let's lead with some of the more constructive missions on this list -- it'll make your conference experience both fun and productive!