Last month, I attended Netroots Nation and learned a valuable lesson about getting the most out of conferences.
I went to several incredibly informative panels and learned oodles about organizing and about strategies for winning in lots of different ways.
While the panels were incredible, I got the most from the time I spent meeting and talking with other incredible organizers from around the country. So what did I learn?
Get out of your shell, and make some connections.
With conferences and conventions, I've often been the guy who spends the day in panels and the evening at my hotel trying to download all the information I just received. But this time, I tried something different. I went to lunches, breakfasts, dinners, and parties, and found every possible opportunity to really get to know the other people in the movement.
It was during this time that I was able to cultivate new and valuable relationships with people I can't wait to work with. I got tons of ideas for collaborations and partnerships, and many and never would have happened if I stayed in my hotel and behaved.
So take those chances, start some conversations with a stranger when you head to a conference. You never know when a stranger might become an ally in your work.
Got a strategy for making the most of a conference? Share in the comments on our blog!
Jamie McGonnigal is the Community Engagement Manager at NOI.