In the entertainment industry, there are frequently conferences of many varieties for talent to learn their trade more, compete for awards or be exposed to people in a specific industry who are sharing their knowledge. These can be animation forums, actor training classes, voice over coachings, award ceremonies and the list goes on.
It is common when attending these events to usually know some other people who are attending said event. It is your choice if you wish to stay in a close knit group or expand and meet new people. Frequently these events feel like a family event, with people traveling many miles to attend a sort of homecoming event. But not every conference exists only for those in a specific industry. Frequently there are conferences that attract various vendors from a variety of different industries who come together.
When you attend a conference with the vendors covering a large range of titles and abilities, it is best to approach this type of event as an opportunity to meet people who may need what you have to offer and those attending may have something that you may need for your business too.
Below is a list of Do Not Do’s for Conferences:
- Do not assume that everyone at this conference has the time or interest to speak to everyone at the conference. Some people show up only for their required part and depart due to other commitments
- Do not assume if you see a group discussion, that you can burst into their circle and disrupt or change their topic instantly to make you the center of the discussion.
- At conferences, there are frequently vendor booths. Whether you know a vendor or not, it is not appropriate to “hang out” at a vendor booth, nor is it appropriate to “mooch” a client if the vendor offers the same services that you do. If you sell product X and so does the vendor, and a potential client has a conversation with the people at the booth, it is not your place to be part of this conversation or try to shove your business card at the potential client just because you happen to be standing there. Instead it is appropriate for you to approach people on your own, start a conversation and then decide if you wish to offer your card and or accept the other person’s card.
- If you see a vendor you know and you have brought too much with you, it is not your place to ask if you can store your personal possessions at someone’s booth, unless it is your own paid for booth. Renting out a space in the conference world is never cheap and it is not any vendor’s job to watch your possessions when they are doing the same work you are, trying to network for the day at the event.
- Do not “shout out” in the middle of someone’s speech if you do not agree with what they are stating. If you have a problem with what the speaker is saying, try to speak to them after their speech if needed and see if you can politely discuss the topic. Even if you disagree with what was said, it does not mean that you can correct to alter the speaker’s point of view or opinion.
- Never show up late for a conference. Consider these events full day events and make sure to read the agenda for the day to be prepared and on time to make the most of your expense, the paid ticket.
- Remember that if you give our a business card and someone says they will contact you, that doesn’t mean that statement is locked in. Many people in the conference circuit receive hundreds of cards each event and it’s polite to state I’ll contact you without guaranteeing it. Just because you give your card to someone, doesn’t mean they have to give one to you. In this digital age, many people don’t even use business cards.
- Always present yourself as a professional at a conference. Never use inappropriate language, stick to the topic on hand and do not insult others at the event.
- Do not get drunk.
- Use your phone/electronics only as needed and do not be glued to your screen.
Good luck at your next conference, may you learn lots and enjoy the company of others nearby.