Conference No-Nos

8:03 AM

So you're prepped and psyched for the big conference. This could be the event that makes your career! Who will you meet? How many amazing sessions can you cram in?

It's going to be amazing, but you can eff that up pretty quick. To make sure you stay on everyone's good side, try to avoid these conference no-nos.

  • Please don't mm and mmhmm after everything the speaker says. It's distracting.
  • Listen to your speaker or panelist. Questions should be saved for the end unless they specify otherwise.
  • Related:  ques·tion -  noun -  \ˈkwes-chən, ˈkwesh-\  The particular form used in this context is "to ask" This panel is not about you. Don't stand up and say "In my experience..." We did not come here for you. If you have something great that's related, share it with your neighbor after the panel is over.
  • Don't argue with the presenter over what is or isn't the point of the panel. You can present next year.
  • Don't ask for very specific help on your - insert 3min pitch- project during the limited question time. Corner them after panel or before lunch.
  • We're all a little guilty of it, but don't burn bridges. Sure that woman insulted your ancestors and that crazy looking man made you nervous. But extricate yourself from those situations with grace. Unless it's harassment, in which case kick 'em in the sweet spot and report it.* 
  • On that note, personal space:  We don't talk here 
  • Take a step back. I don't want to smell your lunch. THIS close makes me feel uncomfortable and will result in me getting out of the conversation as quickly as possible. I reserve that close for the people I'm kissing. K thnx bye.

  • Cellphone on vibrate or silent. Do this at breakfast before any sessions. Please. You'd think we are advanced enough to figure that out.
  • This is for the wrong crowd I suppose since anyone tech savvy would know better, but DON'T ANSWER YOUR PHONE IN A SESSION. Oh, your daughter is pregnant and about to go into labor? You are expecting a call from God himself? Then wait outside until you've taken care of it. Don't disrupt class.**
  • Rolling briefcases:  Unless you are a presenter bringing your own projector to the session, pack yourself a tote bag, purse, small messenger bag or small backpack. These are crowded halls. Just think of it as avoiding the lawsuit for accidentally tripping Frank down the stairs.


* After explicitly saying "Stop." "No thank you." "You are making me feel uncomfortable." or the like
** This legit happened during a pre-conference class at SFWC. Everyone's jaws dropped as we realized she answered the call.

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