In web3, it seems there is always a conference happening, and another one right around the corner. I posted recently with some tips and tricks for preparing for your conference to set you up for success. Now it's time to fly! In this post, I'm sharing my insights for when you arrive at the conference and are attending events, as well as what happens post conference.
You have arrived!
Finally, the time has come and you have touched down in the city where the conference is being held. Your calendar is full of events, your tickets to these events are organized. Before you head to your first event, I want to share one of my biggest tips when going into this situation day after day: Keep an open mind. You never know who you are going to meet and if you'll be able to collaborate in some way; or who they might be able to introduce you to. Keep an open mind, be friendly, and NETWORK!
You are going to meet A LOT of people. And while you may have a fantastic memory and think you'll be able to keep track of who you met and where... you won't. By the end of the conference it's all going to blend together. "Did I meet Ivan at the Alliance rooftop party or was that the BitDAO party?" "Was Jenn the person I met at the Web3 Retreat or the Women's Brunch?" Here's my solution: Remember how we talked about Telegram (TG) in in the Part 1 post? (If you're not familiar with Telegram, go check out Conference Going: Part 1.) Well, get that Telegram QR code cued up, because it's go time! *Pro-tip: Take a selfie with people you meet and send it to them via Telegram, along with a message, including the event you met at and the name of your project. This way, you both have a point of reference when you follow up after the conference. Now, I say take a selfie with everyone, and I stand by this. However, it doesn't mean that everyone you meet will turn into a partnership or valuable relationship - of course it won't, and that's ok.
I try to talk to at least 10 people at every event. Much of web3 is about community and collaboration. You're here to network and schill your project. Introduce yourself to people, chat about each other's projects, but don't linger too long. It's easy to stay in that comfortable conversation when you're hitting it off with someone, but don't get stuck in that trap - keep moving. It's also ok to move on to a new intro after a couple minutes of talking to someone that you're not connecting with, not in a compatible part of the industry, etc. Say hi, talk about each others projects, move on. At first all of this can seem awkward - inserting yourself into a random conversation or walking up to a stranger saying "Hi! I'm Xandra, what are you working on?" Who am I kidding, it's still awkward for me sometimes. Just remember, that we are all in the same boat. Trying to meet new people and figure out how we might be able to collaborate down the road.
One more shoutout to Telegram. When headed to an event, utilize those group chats! I will post it on TG and often times someone from the group chat will respond because they are headed to, or are already at the same event. Now I have a "friend" that I can connect with upon arriving. I have done this multiple times and made great connections!
Shilling your project
You're going to be shilling your project throughout the entire conference. You want to convey what you're working on without it sounding sales-y. Keep in mind that not everyone needs the full pitch. If you go into the same pitch every time, chances are people are going to tune out, especially when you get to parts that don't apply to them. Be ready to answer questions but again, know when it's time to move on. Not everyone you meet is going to be interested in your product, or you in theirs. Be ready to fine tune how you talk about your project so you can dial in to specific points that best apply to the person you're chatting with at that moment.
Keep a level head
Many of these events have free food and drinks available, which is great, but keep in mind that these are long days, bouncing from event to event. I try to eat well so I'm not bloated and tired mid-way through the day. I drink plenty of water and I also try not to drink alcohol most of the day. Many events happen at night - happy hours, cocktail parties, rooftop parties, etc. Pace yourself. You're meeting a lot of people during the day, but I have found that it's the evening parties when people let loose and have a bit more time to relax and engage in lengthier conversation. Sometimes this is when the real connections and bonding take place. Make sure you're able to be present and attentive for these moments.
This is the step a lot of people skip and yet it can be the most valuable step of all. You just busted your butt all week; networking and schmoozing, shilling your project, establishing relationships. Don't let it go to waste! Be sure to follow up!
Give it a few days
Being at a conference is exhausting. You have been "on" for days and now you're headed home to a pile of work that took a backseat while you were away. Keep in mind that everyone else is in the same boat. I always give it a few days before reaching out to people. I take that time to go through my contacts, organize who I met, and take notes on how I think we could best collaborate. Say you get home on Sunday, I won't reach out to people until Wednesday or Thursday. And I bet a good amount of those people will still say that they need a week or so to settle in or might not respond for a week or more. That being said, don't be afraid to ping someone a second or third time. Post conference, there are a lot of messages going around and some get lost in the mix. No need to be pushy, just a gentle check-in/reminder that you are looking to connect.
You did it! Ready for the next one?
After every conference, I leave feeling more knowledgable, invigorated in the space, and with a larger community than I had when I got there. It's incredibly motivating being surrounded by intelligent people that are working on cool projects and excited share their experience with others. Again, it's exhausting, but rejuvenating, and totally worth it. Keep an open mind, be friendly, and put yourself out there. Follow up with those new contacts after the conference and find ways to collaborate that benefit both projects! Now go sign up for that next conference!