On 20171023, Honey Panda and I went to the first conference attended by Little Princess. I know that some people may be thrilled to see her, whereas some may perceive it negatively or even worse, be offended, but I think that exposing her to her parents’ work early is essential , so that she views her work as a passion, not a toil. After all, before she turned three months old, she succeeded in collecting five-digit debts for her mother.
Gaining an inspiration from Lisa DeLuca of IBM, I braced myself carrying Little Princess in a brown baby carrier that we bought for Little Prince.
I am thankful to a London-based gentleman who was originally from Iraq for complementing Little Princess, while I quickly grabbed our breakfast.
I tried to listen to the talks, but the darkness of the hall might make her uncomfortable. After all, I met 4 of my 5 goals (see my google calendar) and got to know few new people.
To optimize our conference experience:
- Give 1st
- Give a smile or a nod (if we are concerned of being interpreted wrongly, especially for distinct genders) or a light bow.
- “Would you be happy if we introduce you to new audiences (in print/online)? (i.e. offer an interview article).
- Don’t start with taking from others, if possible. If one says “pick your brain” it can be interpreted as free consulting services.
- bring business cards. During an exchange, give ours beneath the others.
- Identify n people we would most like to connect.
- There are 7.442 billions people in the world as of 2016 (World Bank). It’s impossible to get to know everyone even if we use each day to get to know a new person, hence I cherish the random and serendipitously planned opportunities to connect with people, especially those who are wiser/older as well as those who are younger/hungrier than me.
- n can vary, but I prefer to keep n small (less is more) to facilitate deep conversation instead of merely small talk. HBR recommends n ~= 5.
- use the list of speakers/registrants to identify these people (i.e. do our homework!).
- Focus on the opportunity that stands before us if we feel intimidated by experts/big names.
- I’m thankful that I garnered my courage to talk to an expert speaker, that effort landed me a productive summer work in 2009!
- Make a positive impression.
- If necessary, prepare a succint (let say 30 seconds) self-introduction. “My name is …, I work for …, my background is in …”
- listen reflectively.
- ask meaningful questions.
Other useful tips:
- request for wifi password if any
- Avoid badmouthing anything (people, organization, country), no matter how useful this might seem. Even if the person you’re networking does so, refrain from joining in.
 Little Prince started attending a professional conference when he was 4 years old, Little Princess started attending one when she was 1 years old.