Welcome to the mycamp.rocks newsletter! I hope you are enjoying these as much as I am writing them! 😄
Here’s the deal. I’ll try to be: (1) brief (2) target to organizers, speakers, and/or attendees. Trying to keep this ad free but I’ve left a spot at the bottom for “misc things”.
You can find this issue on the mycamp.rocks website: https://mycamp.rocks/issue-10
“You can never have too many signs at a conference. Literally put signs ten feet apart and attendees will still ask you where a particular room is.”An old organizer’s joke
Providing directions to attendees is vital, especially for larger venues here rooms and key areas are scattered. You also likely need signs and directions for parking too. While you can dump maps and information on the website – in this day and age STILL it’s difficult to read such directions when driving into a venue’s area (and some directions in urban areas are tricky).
It’s a given that information should be on a website but remember to provide clear links to map websites. Think mobile first – majority of the time when directions and maps need to be accessed, attendees are doing this on their phones. Include perhaps more detailed instructions and maps in emails prior to the conference (the attendees can always refer back to that – and sometimes accessing email is easier than accessing a website). You would think responsible attendees bookmark or print out direction information but honestly most don’t. So you have remind them multiple times and provide easy ways to get access to the information.
Outside of the digital, physical signs are important. Make sure the writing is large enough – especially for the key parts of the sign that need to be seen from a distance. Make sure the signs have plenty of contrast (especially outdoor signs). Make sure signs that are outside can handle weather or the elements (wind / rain). Make sure your registration desk has extra maps or at least has knowledgeable people to answer “where is this?” questions. Don’t forget on maps to label bathrooms, child care, registration and other key areas that attendees might need to access.
I’m cheating a little bit this week and pointing you over to a blog post I wrote regarding speaker egos. It’s not a short blog post but here are a few self-reflecting (honestly i am blunt) points. Since this newsletter is supposed to be brief here’s some quickies:
“My Subject Is Vitally Important And The Community Needs To Hear It”
The reality is that almost every speaker who submits a talk feels the same way. Look at this another way: if you ARE the only person capable of giving the talk then is there is a diversity issue. Can you take an honest look at the diversity of your industry and perhaps mentor new ones – especially those from under represented groups – to be able to speak on such topics? Don’t be the “always go-to”. Share the limelight with others, especially in tech conferences when diversity and representation still aren’t that great. Again, my post goes into this more deeply.
“I Have Been Rejected From This Conference Before, So I’m Not Going To Waste My Time”
Try to understand best you can why you are being rejected (conference organizers tend to change year after year so it might not even be same people). It will give your some closure and hopefully in the end make you a better speaker.
“I Need To Be Seen” Or “I Need To Be Associated With This Conference”
What makes this particular conference so important? Are you wanting to be there primarily just so you can add a prestigious conference to your resume? Why? Have you made past appearances and you feel like (perhaps knowing the organizers on some level) you are entitled (some refer to this as being on “The A List”)?
Are you a foodie? Or perhaps want a creative way to meet people and network? A good way to check off both boxes is to locate a popular or decent eating establishment near the venue (preferably walking distance) for a breakfast, lunch (careful to note if the conference has better or more convenient options), or even dinner… then start a “who wants to check this place out?” thread on social media. One of the best tried and true ways to gather people in a room is to invite them to a meal. Of course make to imply they are paying for their meal (if YOU are paying then yeah, popular chances are increased). Often keeping it low-key and casual helps not to set expectations too high.
Spin things in the invite depending if it’s happening before, during, or after the event. If it’s happening before, you can invite people likely in a similar boat as you – people that want to network. During or after the event, you can use the event to “compare notes” about the conference and what fellow attendees got out of it.
If you aren’t aware of restaurants in the area, ping the conference organizer team (who honestly should have that information for their attendees, especially on the website by a certain point). Remember not to pick a location too specialized or at least pick a location that could serve people with a variety of diets.
Misc. Stuff 🤷♂️
These tips were written and/or gathered by David Bisset, someone who’s been helping organizing conferences (such as WordCamp Miami, but others too) and meetups for over a decade. He’s still learning so share any of your tips and it might be included in a future newsletter.