Surviving Conferences

8. Using Technology

Blog as you go.

See if there are chat room and other ‘back channels’ where the conference is being discussed.

Tag all of your blog posts with the agreed conference tag and the date and name of presenters.

Using Twitter or other rapid microblogging tools can elicit quick responses to questions.

If you have a digital camera, use it to record events, information and even group work (with permission).

If you love your laptop, treat it to some spare batteries and keep them charged – venues may boast wireless internet access, but rarely wireless power.

If there’s anything in an online delegate pack you want to keep referring to, print it out before you get to the conf – you may run out of power, not be able to got online, or have no business services desk to print it out for you when you get there.

If you aren’t using a laptop take a memory stick (a fast USB 2.0 one) to use in any internet cafe. There are several options for installing portable browers, such as Firefox Portable, and they will have all your favourites bookmarked.



  1. Where to find power points:

    On walls behind curtains.
    In floor boxes (lift the flap)
    Multiplug under presenters table (sit on the front row)
    Bar/reception – usually behind a pot plant, at skirting board level.

    Make friends and influence people: bring a multiplug adaptor… let people you want to chat to have a “hit”.

    Also bring an Ethernet (RJ45, IEEE 802.3) cable. Especially on university property, you’ll find network points next to the power. For “multi-use” rooms, these are quite often left “open”, so you’ll have broadband speed access. If it isn’t quite open, there are often ways around that. Apparently.

    Wireless access – make sure you are set up for EduRoam access. More and more places have this, if you are at (or near) a university then you are sorted. Failing that, don’t just sign up for the hotel or conference centre access, see what’s around. Often others are cheaper or have better pricing deals. Indeed, 3g cards often work out cheaper for emails and stuff.

    Backchannels – these days for conference name and acronym. Boring keynotes are greatly improved by twitter.

    Comment by David Kernohan — August 27, 2008 @ 10:24 am | Reply

  2. If you are using your laptop in a session, please don’t sit in front of me checking email, playing with excel worksheets, surfing the internet etc. – it is really distracting.

    Comment by John Canning — September 26, 2008 @ 9:04 am | Reply

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