The “unconference” conference has been very popular especially for information workers. An unconference is a conference where the format is loosely structured. The idea is an informal exchange of ideas, interactions, and information rather than a tightly structured program. ProductCamps, BarCamps, CityCamps, WordCamps, and others are a popular type of unconferences and this year I have attended a few and each one has its own experience and energy but all are equally rewarding.
The nice thing about unconferences is they are generally completely put together by volunteers and are often times free. This not only makes them an awesome value but also means that people organizing have the best interests in mind when putting together.
Attending an unconference is rewarding but truly engaging in an unconference is awesome. Here are some tips to make the most of your next unconference:
- Meet new people: Do not be a wallflower and instead get to know people. This does not mean trying to collect as many business cards as possible but have genuine conversations with others. Get peoples names and follow up with them after the conference by grabbing coffee or conversing on email. Try to meet at least three new people at each unconference.
- Participate in discussion: The exchange of ideas and information is essential and you can participate in the discussion by either speaking up in sessions or hosting a session yourself. The nice thing about an unconference is presentations are less formal and more of a discussion rather than a lecture. This allows for a lot of people to contribute. Know if you are contributing to the discussion you will feel more benefited from the discussion.
- Volunteer: This may mean you volunteer to speak or you volunteer to register people at the door or a number of things. You will feel more invested in an unconference if you helped make it what it was.
- Be thankful: Make sure to thank the organizers, volunteers, speakers, and sponsors for their role in the event. This will not only give you the opportunity to meet other people but also is a nice token of gratitude for the contribution that these people played.
Take a look at your community and find an unconference that catches your attention and sign up. Or, maybe next time you are on vacation you can take the opportunity to go to an unconference in another city and meet a whole new set of people and perspectives. Either way keep on learning and keep on helping others learn, as these are both some of the most pleasurable things to be human.
Have an awesome week and remember to do something today to supercharge your success.
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