18 Feb 2006

SES NYC and Conference Tips.

Let’s meet at SES NYC – and Conference Tips.

So in a week I’ll be in NYC for the SES conference. I don’t think I’ll be attending too many sessions, so if you’re into meeting up, I’m free most days, and each night you can find me at these parties. Send me an email (my first name at We Build Pages .com) and I’ll shoot you over my cell phone #.  Call me when you’re free, and we’ll get together for a chat.

Here’s some tips I’ve picked up over the past 5 years from attending over 25 SEO conferences.

Write down questions you’d like answered, or goals you’d like to accomplish.
Give you cell phone number to those you want to meet with before you head out.

Meet as many people as you can:
Introduce yourself to everyone you can, keep moving, keep networking, and if you see someone alone, speak to them. Don’t wait for them to walk up to you, take the initiative. Even if you’re normally shy, do it anyway – this person might be able to answer all your questions and could become your biggest ally – you never know.

Try to give info freely – the more you give, the more you’re apt to get back in return.
Don’t be paranoid about your "trade secrets".

Not all attendees are there to "do business". Don’t push your business on people, and don’t focus on selling. Make friends, and things will move from there.

A few Opening lines:
What Industry are you in?
Is this your first SES conference?
Did you learn anything new today?
Have you been to NY before?
Where are you from?
What do you do?

Avoid your co-workers.  I too often see people from the same company chatting in circles with each other. A circle of chatting people from the same company to me doesn’t seem to be an open invitation to join that chat. I’d rather chat 1 on 1 rather than me and 5 people from the same company…and why should I try to to even chat with a group of 5 people chatting in a circle?

Todd and I usually go to most of the conferences together, yet we hardly see each other during the conference time…and that’s the way it should be, we can compare notes afterwards, and I can chat with Todd any day – at conferences, we split up.

Take lots of business cards. When you take a business card, put a small note on it to remember why you took it.
Give lots of business cards (bring at least 100 of your own cards), put a note on it before you give your card away to help them (jot a note before handing to them , ie, "get links", or "provides SEO services", or "does affiliate work" etc.)

Take lots of notes.
Carry a pen and paper around with you at all times…even at the parties.

Late into the night people will be hanging at the bars, and at the parties (read the party list).
Buy people drinks. This is a great way to get tips from people you respect, buy them a beer and ask them some questions.

Pace yourself – this is a 4 day conference, which means 5 nights for most of us. If you party hard night 1, the next few nights might be recovery time. Nurse your drinks! Think about "tomorrow". Know what time the first session  in the morning which you plan to attend, and know how important that earliest session is to you, so when you’re partying the prior night you can decide when you’re going to bed (based on the fun your having, vs the early session topic).

Misc tips.
Bring your camera and take pictures (see Jim’s conference pics).
Don’t tell Matt Cutts any of your websites!
Though it’s usually not the cheapest hotel in town, I’ve found it’s worth it to stay at the hotel where the conference is being held.
Book your hotel room early.
If you had to miss a session, or want to compare notes, see Search Engine RoundTable Coverage.
Have at least one nice meal out with friends.
Bring an empty backpack in your suitcase to fill with swag from the exhibit hall.
Have Fun

Are you going?
What tips would you offer?


[tags]search engine optimization, SES, NYC, SEO, SEM, conference[/tags]