I just came back from an amazing conference with amazing speakers, meet-ups, panels, free food and drinks, crazy people on the streets, advertisement anywhere (people’s bodies, trucks, pedicabs, projected on walls), forward thinking people who want to change the world, and those who want to make a big splashing releasing their new product, people with ideas, people with the money to fund the ideas, people with the guts to build or tear down ideas… people from all over the world.
Yet, what do many do (myself included), go from session to session with a feeling that “you’re missing something” if you don’t go to every single one of them. A strange feeling of lack of connection if you don’t go to every hip party (and there are quite a few).
The truth is that the most interesting and meaningful connections don’t come from a photo with a famous speaker, or the number of interesting sessions you attended. The interesting conversations happen in the places you are normally too busy or bitter to notice: in line for free food, bumping into people in the hall ways.
So, next time I attend a conference, even more so then now, I will not complain about standing in line, I’ll engage in even more conversations with those around me. I will consciously not complain about people bumping into me as they rush to another session: I will just take advantage of that bump to strike a conversation.
Conversation is the key to connecting forging meaningful relationships. Instead of counting the amount of good sessions you attended, enjoy the fulfilling conversations you had during the event.
That’s what I’ll do. I’ll unattend my next conference.