1. Be funny & clever
This can be as simple as showing up with little stickers to put on name badges or baking cookies in the shape of cookie monster the night before. Think of doing one little thing that relates to your favorite interests and helps your unique identity stick in the minds of the new people you meet. Remember the difference between funny and creepy: carrying a beaver puppet and only speaking thru your puppet will probably not win you new clients but giving them something simple & unique will help them remember you when you call back later.
2. Do something different
People will remember the one unique thing you did at that conference that no one else dared to do. Did you sing a tribute song to the conference organizer or maraud through the convention center dressed as a unicorn? I still find that people remember Erin @queenofspain from last year’s Gov 2.0 event because she was handing out bumper stickers that say #SUCKIT.
3. Prepare an unconference conversation topic that bridges your work with others (AKA DON’T BE A SHILL!)
Unconferences and open space gatherings can be fun for the wide open opportunities to offer a unique conversation or topic that rarely gets discussed. Don’t waste this opportunity by boring us with the details of your company and chasing everyone out of the room. Host a CONVERSATION, a real dialogue about topics that engages people in the process instead of telling them why you have the solution to all of their problems. People walk out of the shill room almost immediately but will stick around if you’re hosting a meaningful time to talk.
4. Come prepared to rock their socks off
Sleep well the night before, try to avoid the cocktail party hangover and wear something comfortable so you’re ready to run around the room and take on the whole event! People notice when you’re one of the most energetic people in the room and that charisma will carry you far after the event.
5. Bring an example!
Maybe your new DIY cold fusion machine can’t travel — then bring a video of it in action. Anything you can share via smartphone is a start, but remember that people love to get their hands on things and try them out whenever possible. Take time to demonstrate your awesomeness.
Upcoming Events I’m Looking Forward to in California:
- Gov 2.0 LA: February 11-13, Santa Monica
- BarCampLA: February 19-20, Mt. Washington LA
- Digital Storytelling Event: February 23, San Francisco
- Wisdom 2.0 Conference: February 25-27, Mountain View & Silicon Valley (almost sold out)
- BIL Conference: March 5-6, Long Beach
I hope to see you around and out there sharing your best at these events! I’ll be sharing a talk at SXSW as well on Causebuilding Games and encourage all of you interested in gaming, social action, education and the more serious aspects of why we create games to join us on 3/12 in Austin, TX at SXSWi.