Publications & Products
Volume 1, Issue 21

Habits to Avoid at Conferences

Conferences are a great place to share knowledge and network. But conference attendees who engage in certain bad habits can fail to take advantage of the resources surrounding them—and are sure to garner the ire of fellow attendees.

Jessica Lawlor, public relations professional and blogger for Brazencareerist, outlined several conference-going habits to avoid in a recent blog post. Chief among her gripes are attendees who ask questions that are "so super specific that it only pertains to you and your individual situation." This has the potential to turn what is meant to be a general, open forum into a "personal coaching session," which she says isn't helpful to anyone else in the audience.

"If you have specific questions, ask the speaker after the session, or better yet, email [him or her] later, after [he or she] had some time to unwind from the conference," she writes. "Besides being polite and respectful to other session attendees, you will most likely get a better and more personalized answer."

In a similar vein, Lawlor also urges attendees not to challenge a speaker in the middle of his or her session.

"No one pays a hefty ticket price to see a session get hijacked by a fellow attendee," she writes. "If you were the expert, you would have been invited to speak at the conference. Even if you disagree with something the speaker says, it's never appropriate to interrupt [him or her] in the middle of [his or her] session to spout off your own opinion. Instead, take the conversation to Twitter or write a blog post about it."

Finally, Lawlor advises attendees not to push their business cards on any and everyone who will take them. Instead, she suggests attendees selectively hand out cards to those individuals who they've taken the time to meet with personally and have a conversation.

"Handing out business cards with no real purpose or goal is completely useless," she writes. "If someone doesn't remember you or the conversation they had with you when they look at your business card, they most likely won't be contacting you any time soon."

This article is from the Nov. 28, 2011 issue.

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