Around a month ago, I delivered a speech at the SQA Days conference. As many times before, I wanted to write a review about it. While writing the first sketch, I had an indescribable feeling of comfort that didn’t want to leave me. That was the moment when I realized something important.
In addition, I can surely state with a clear conscience that the SQA Days event has become a home conference for me. What does it mean? What do the organizers or you have to do to feel in such a way at the conference? Let’s look at it together and try to understand.
First of all, it’s important to understand that the ‘home feeling’ doesn’t come immediately and there has to be the so-called mutual approach. On the one hand, as a participant or speaker, you need to be open to communication and knowledge sharing. On the other hand, the organizers need to do everything in order to make sure that nothing distracts you during the conference. Therefore, it’s important to prepare for the journey for both sides equally.
Secondly, I decided to be impudent enough and give a couple of tips from my personal experience (after all, I attended 8 conferences just in 2018).
Participants need to create a proper mood for the conference:
Your company or you have already bought a ticket, and you are going to participate in a two-day conference. It’s important to prepare, even if you are not a speaker.
1. Explore the place of residence and the venue chosen for the event. This is not always a similar place and sometimes you need to get there by transport. Discover all the options. Thanks to this helpful habit, I installed an application for taxis in Riga. Furthermore, it gave me a welcome bonus for rides. This bonus was enough to take a taxi from the airport to the city center and back. As a result, I was able to save a lot of money by doing this simple action.
2. Make a list of key issues and questions in advance. While being at the conference, you can easily and quickly forget what you wanted to ask or make because of the abundance of feelings and information. You can be saved only in the case when the speaker raises this topic or you prepared everything in advance. Take out a notebook and ask questions from the list.
3. Choose the right panels and speakers. Before the conference, try to review the program and familiarize yourself with the speakers. You can even check their profiles on Linkedin. As soon as you get the schedule, choose sections and panels, where you really want to go. Plan your day well.
4. Check the site of the event. As soon as you reach the venue of the conference, be sure to look around and talk with a ‘volunteer’ to understand the location of key elements and premises. You need to know the location of the toilet, where to have lunch, a quiet area, and an area for games and so on. All these places will be needed and useful in the next two days.
5. Partners. Make sure to overcome your shyness and go through the partner stands. First of all, they will give all sorts of ‘gifts’ in the majority of cases. Secondly, you need to understand that meeting new companies and people is always useful. You never know where you can meet them later.
6. Participate. If you arrived for two days at the conference, you need to participate in every event you can reach. From the competitions (last time, I accidentally won an electric scooter) to all kinds of parties. By the way, SQA Days always organize such evenings for speakers first, and then for everyone else. The informal atmosphere is always useful for communication and networking. As a result, during the evening of the first day of the conference, you can’t go to the hotel room to sleep or relax. Your task is to hang out with colleagues and likeminded people.
By the way, the organizers of SQA Days are trying to help with all the mentioned things right from the very beginning of the event preparation.
Organizers have to prepare for the conference:
One needs to understand that my feedback is very subjective and I’m not a professional organizer of such events. It’s a point of view of a ‘professional’ visitor and participant. How can you create a home environment for the conference?
1. Soul. Yes, yes, and yes. Every conference has a soul. It consists of are activists, regular visitors, and speakers. They create a cozy and relaxed atmosphere at the conference. They form the layer that unites the organizers with visitors. They are the ones who create the community at the conference. Thanks to such a community, I feel at home when I’m at the SQA Days conference.
2. Smile. Do you know the importance of the smile of the organizers during the conference? You have to do your best to make sure to keep this smile on the face, even in case of unusual situations and questions. Your smile brings positive emotions. The conference will never become your home without such an atmosphere.
3. Always be ready to improve. This is also very important. The dynamics of development and improvement is another key to success. I’ll never forget how I attended one of the first SQA Days conferences. During the communication with one of the ‘assistants’ of the organizers, I offered to give the top speakers ‘Oscar Awards’ with various inscriptions. What do you think? I was very surprised when I became a top speaker and received my Oscar in just a week. It was delivered right to my home. This is what I call a proper reaction 🙂
Thanks to all these moments, the SQA Days conference remains my home. And I really hope it will be like that all the time.
I wish participants to find their home conference. At the same time, I want organizers to continue creating decent and sincerely warm events.
P.S. For now, I want to thank the organizers of SQA Days for their excellent work, warm attitude, and the smile that they give me every time I visit the conference.
See you soon!