How to have a fun and successful time at Drupalcon

Very soon 1,399 of your best friends will be converging on Washington DC to talk about all things Drupal, web, business, yada yada yada. What could be more fun than that?! Well, for some people, believe it or not, the thought of so many people or the thought of having to do anything particularly social with people that they don't already know, is a bit overwhelming/unappealing. Under normal circumstances I fall into this category. Starting a couple years ago at my first big Drupal function, however, I made a deliberate decision to try to overcome this tendency. As it turns out that was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. The effects which have followed "forcing" myself to go say hi to more people than I normally would back then are still with me to this very day.

Hopefully anyone reading this won't confuse what I'm saying as an endorsement to run up to everyone they've ever wanted to meet and harrass them - if you're already a social butterfly - you probably don't need to force yourself to be more social - that would just be obnoxious ;-). But by all means if you're hanging around somewhere - don't hesitate for a second to say hi to whomever is around you. ("So what do you do with Drupal?" is always a nice starting point)

Couple more tips:

1) If you need to, remind yourself that if all of this sociability sounds like too much work and all you want to do is float around a bunch of people anonymously - you could have just stayed home and tracked the conference online!

2) Whether gardening or heading to a convention - when you're planting seeds - it will probably take the seeds some time to even spout, let alone turn into a blossoming tree. Some seeds might not even ever get going. So plant many of them and don't worry to much about tomorrow, today. You'll enjoy yourself more and likely be more enjoyable to talk with.

1 March, 2009

Comments

I love meeting people, and the social aspect of Drupal is one of the best perks for me. Please assume that I want to meet you. If you see me at DrupalCon (or any other conference), and want to talk about search, caching, music, Acquia, life in Germany, or anything else, please say Hi. Even the smallest introduction is sometimes enough to launch a great working relationship once the conference is over and life returns to distributed virtual normalcy. So yeah - looking forward to meeting people =)

I'm generally too shy to approach people, which was a bad combination when attending Drupalcon by myself last year!

I just braced myself and walked right up to different groups of people and said, "Hi! I'm just gonna listen in, I'm here by myself." Not one person rebuffed me, and on many occasions I was warmly welcomed. Since everyone is talking Drupal, it's tremendously easy to join in other conversations. I was invited out to dinner with a different group every night and had a lot of fun.

I can't wait to do it again :) I'm gonna try to leave my shy self in the hotel room.

I'm all about networking but even I find Drupalcon a bit overwhelming. My biggest advice is to get plenty of sleep because while there is a lot going on each day, it's in the evenings that a lot of the social interaction kicks into high gear. Oh, yeah. Be sure to bring 1000 business cards. I ran out in 2 hours last year. :-)

Yeah I get a bit a nervous when I go for such conferences where I don't know anyone. Forcing a hi seems difficult for me lol but I am glad that you're doing it nicely. But I feel such events open up ourselves. It helps us to get better and let our fears go and grow in confidence. There's nothing wrong with socializing with new people but we are afraid of them many of the times. Aren't we?