What do I do at conferences and meetups

A lot of people often ask me for reasons I attend conferences or meetups and what essentially I do at these conferences ? I believe blogging about it could be a good way to reach out to a larger audience.

There are several things I do at conferences and meetups apart from listening to amazing talks – Enjoy sumptuous lunches, Making “conference friends” – friends I meet only at conferences and later interact on Twitter! There’s of-course much more to it. I ask questions. A lot. I try to interact with as many people as I can.

One of the common doubts which people have is that what should I talk about to people I don’t know. Maybe this blog will help them with few pointers.

Thinking upon the kind of questions I generally ask, they tend to fall into following categories:

Questions I ask fellow attendees

  • How does your day look like at your work place ?
  • Do you do anything specific to make yourself get better at your job ?
  • How do you manage your time to get maximum efficiency ?
  • How do you refresh yourself when you feel you’re burnt out.

Questions I ask speakers

  • How do you manage time to do a talk proposal and prepare for it ? (Of course I am assuming you’re really good since you’re proposing a talk or are invited to give one :))
  • How do you prepare your slides ? Do you follow a theme on which you prepare your slides (minimalistic or full of examples or story building..)

Such questions help me understand their perspective and how they are working or doing similar kind of stuff I do differently. The idea is to not copy-paste the ideas shared by others but more so to understand the ones I can adapt to.

Questions I ask sponsors

This is one of the most important things I do at conferences. Meet the sponsors and spend time with them. Sponsors are an integral part of any community-driven conferences like PyCon India conferences, GopherCon India conferences. Most companies sponsor from hiring perspective. I visit their booths to ask following questions and you should too! (apart from accepting goodies from them 😉

  • If I am talking to someone from engineering team, I often ask them about their technology-stack, best practices they follow ?
  • What is the most challenging part of their job at their company in their job role ?
  • What’s their hiring process like ? What are the softer aspects of a candidate that they’re looking for ?
    • This is not only important if you want to get hired but also if you wish to understand the hiring process to follow for your company or startup.

If you’ve got interesting questions that one should discuss in conferences and meetups, please comment!

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