After quite a few years of working with Notes and attending conferences, I didn’t really think it was possible to meet new (to me) people. But I did it yet again at this year’s MWLUG. And I met most of them in the bar.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, sure, Kathy was in the bar and she met people, uh huh. But I don’t mean we were all in the bar getting smashed. I want to point out to event organizers, the bar is an important part of your conference whether you know it or not. It’s a point in the day when you can relax and chat without rushing off to another session or panel or meeting. People talk about all sort of things. Topics that have nothing to do with the conference topic, but also lots of free flowing ideas about the conference and whatever the conference is about.
Some of us were even discussing this in the bar, go figure. Lotusphere had the Dolphin bar. A place where you knew you’d run into someone from the conference. You could chat, relax, etc. and do it with someone who you automatically had something in common. Smaller conferences like MWLUG and other user groups are typically held in a single hotel. As long as that hotel has a decent bar, you’ve automatically created a great space for your attendees to meet and talk and extend the conference beyond sessions. Even better when the hotel has a place to grab decent food so attendees don’t need to leave.
I think sometimes when planning events, planners look at things like conference rooms and price and forget important bits like common spaces and a place for attendees to congregate and network (without forced “networking” events, which I typically find don’t really aid in networking).
Anywho, I really enjoyed my time at MWLUG, meeting new people, hanging out in the bar! 🙂 Well done, Richard and team for picking a great venue!