Everyone attending a conference has a reason to be there. Although this article is written tongue in cheek, there are some truths to these different types of attendees – see how many you can recognise. I know as a conference organiser I have met almost all of these in varying shades and shapes over the years.
Be it the Business Networker, the Intern or the Drinker – they are out there, and I bet you have met a few of these too.
1) The Business Networker
The Business Networker’s main aim is to meet like minded intelligent people, and make business connections that are long lasting in their specific industry. They may be well connected on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, and will likely have connected with others ahead of time on Twitter by using the conference hashtag. Most often seen talking to groups and handing out their business card like its going out of fashion. They are often also looking to make a good business deal, be it a partnership or speaking opportunity – they are focussed and nothing can hold them back from making connections.
2) The Sponge
The Sponge’s main focus is getting as much information as possible from the event. Likely holding an I-pad, smart phone and a note pad, and can talk widely on almost every topic that was covered at the event. This is a great person to have on your team, in-case you miss anything – you can always borrow the Sponge’s notes later.
3) Innovation Man
Innovation Man is constantly coming up with new ideas and products. Likely they watch tons of TED Talks, and are often entrepreneurs and creatives also fall in to this category. Innovation Man is there to spark his already en pointe creative flair, and gain new inspiration for his business, or next product line.
4) Star Follower
The star follower is just the biggest fan of some of the conference speakers, like, ever. The Star Follower obsessively tweets about the conference, and mentions their favourite speaker in almost every tweet, in the hopes of a retweet. The Star Follower is most likely to be found in the book signing queue, or hanging out around outside the speakers holding room, in the hopes that they might run in to their “crush”.
5) The Intern
The Intern can also reach over to the job seeker, who is on the hunt for a new job. Sometimes they are just at the conference to learn more about their industry and the different companies and opportunities available to them, or if they are quite advanced in their job hunting phase – come prepared with their resume, and know exactly who they want to talk to, with a well prepared elevator pitch.
7) The Vlogger
The Vlogger or blogger is at the conference to write or film content for their platform. They are similar to the content sponge, they will usually be writing down outlines on their notepad, or recording on their phone, and will rush off immediately after the event to go and put the framework of their article together, or to edit their video footage, before the salient points have faded in their memory.
8) The Educator
The Educator loves to attend conferences and glean as much information as possible to take back to those in the office that couldn’t attend. They take great notes and will likely put together an awesome presentation for the team within a few days; they may even create a wiki page!
9) The Innovators
These are usually the conference speakers or presenters. They know their subject backwards, and have written books and hundreds of articles which have been published in magazines around the world, and are highly respected in their industry. They have thousands of social media followers and love being on stage, it energises them, and the Star Followers are usually found nearby to the Innovators.
10) The Undercover Researcher
This is the person who goes to a conference to check out the competition, see who the speakers are, how many people are there, what is the general feedback, what works and what doesn’t work. I will admit now that I have been an Undercover Researcher more times than I care to admit, seeing what the competition is doing, and how can we take this information and better it for our team.
12) The Drinker
The Drinker is there for the social aspect – they cannot wait until the end of the event to hit the buffet, and the bar! Once the music comes on they are the first one on the dance floor, and inevitably their high heels will be off by 10pm. They usually travel in packs and are great ice breakers, as they will talk to almost anyone and are guaranteed to get the party started.
So how many of the above could you identify? And which category do you fall in to?