How to get noticed at a conference
This post was inspired by #pbevent and my own experiences there. Having said that, not all the following suggestions directly happened to me but some of them definitely did!
If you happen to try any of these out at a future conference, please let me know how you go – I’d love to use case studies in a future post 😉
So when you are at a conference, for which you (and hundreds of others) have paid a small fortune to attend, you want to get your money’s worth.
You want to get noticed, particularly if there are other attendees or presenters that you are DYING to meet.
So, because I’m generous and kind and all that, I’ve put together 5 foolproof ways to get noticed at your next conference.
Trust me* – they work 🙂
Attend with an obvious injury or gain one while you are there
I had not tried this one before but having a “broken knee” (in reality a ruptured ACL & mild fracture which turned out to be bone bruising) at Problogger definitely helped break the ice this time around.
Rocking my “sexy” compression stockings after a long day of networking at Problogger 2015
Obviously you attract the sympathy factor “oh, you poor thing, what have you done?”
And the respect factor “you still came WITH a broken knee? You rock!”
Not to mention the memorable factor “yes, you won’t miss me, I’m the one with the limp.”
In a sea of many, standing out in some way definitely pays off in spades. Although I could have taken it further when the Problogger team tweeted me to see if there was anything they could do to help me. I was tempted to tweet back “free tickets for next year” but I thought better of it.
It’s not fun having principles sometimes…
Now, all is not lost if you don’t attend with an obvious injury, because there’s always time to gain one while you are there.
The talk of the morning following the networking event was the news that a blogger had broken their toe on the dance floor.
See? Instant notice and attention.
N.B. This approach does work but it requires full commitment and some pain and discomfort so it’s not for the faint of heart.
Get drunk at the networking party and still rock it at the following day’s sessions
Anyone can get drunk at a networking party. It’s sort of a rite of passage, isn’t it?
A scene from the networking event at Problogger 2015
Obviously you can become memorable for all the wrong reasons – dodgy drunken dancing, spilling your drink on an overseas presenter, falling into the pool, getting into a heated argument that turns ugly or trying to come onto all and sundry. This is not ideal but if you are clever (and brazen) you can ride it out, laugh it off and be ultimately dubbed a good sport.
Clearly getting drunk is not a guaranteed tactic for success.
However, not everyone can come back the next day and command the respect of their peers by attending a full day of sessions with good humour, nausea and hangover in check.
It’s a skill and it will get noticed.
Wear something outrageous or completely unique
We tried this approach at #pbevent 2014 and it was a complete success. In our case we only used this approach at the networking event but you could push this and employ this tactic throughout the entire conference.
It involves being creative with your wardrobe and using colour, pattern, vibrancy, creativity and courage to innovate your look and draw admiration from your peers.
At the Ahoy! networking event we took the theme very seriously and dressed up as a navy pinup girl and a sailor. It just happened that we had the costumes already in our wardrobe and as it was our first Problogger we wanted to make an impression. And we did. Random strangers came up and introduced themselves to us and complimented us on our look.
Going the extra mile paid BIG dividends at Problogger 2014
All the hard work was done for us – all we had to do was smile and continue the conversation.
It’s the same if you employ this technique for the conference as a whole. Being unique draws attention like moths to a flame.
Own it. And they will come.
Grow a beard
Okay, so this is not for the ladies (unless you are unusually hirsute and happy to let it all hang out there, then by all means go for it!)
But my husband swears by this. If you have a serious beard you will get noticed.
I’ll let you be the judge – is this beard impressive?
Last year, he struck up conversation with fellow beard afficianado Rand Fishkin when they met in an elevator and exchanged compliments on their facial hair.
This year, he again attracted attention for his impressive beard. It’s not hard, especially if the ratio of male to female is seriously out of whack (I believe it was like 50:700 at this year’s event).
So if you are a guy, looking to make an impression, don’t underestimate the power of the beard.
For it is indeed a powerful thing.
Bring along a cute baby
This may require the most planning and preparation but, having witnessed this first hand a few times over, IT WORKS.
Bring along a baby. Preferably a cute newborn who sleeps well, feeds well and is happy to be passed from conference attendee to conference attendee.
See? I would have had the ultimate conference accessory five years ago!
Even better, have your partner or a carer on hand to look after the baby in sessions (so you can concentrate) and have them bring the cuteness back in for each break.
There is nothing more powerful than a beautiful baby. They are a true people magnet.
N.B. This technique is something you need to consider very carefully as it is a lifelong commitment. Unless you borrow a baby. Then you just need to remember to look after it properly…
What foolproof tips can you add to get noticed at your next conference?
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* I take no personal responsibility for any consequences that may arise from taking this clearly tongue in cheek advice!