WCEU is back! If you’re going to WordCamp Europe, congratulations! It’s so exciting that we’re having in-person WordCamps again, and Porto is a beautiful location.
It’s been a hot minute since most of us have attended an in-person WordCamp, so you might feel a bit rusty.
Recognizing (and talking to) people behind masks might feel odd. (And maybe even a little anxiety-inducing.)
Here’s how to get past those barriers and make your experience an amazing one.
6 Things You Can Do to Make WCEU Amazing
One: Be True to Your Sense of Safety
It’s OK not to hug, shake hands, or sit close to others. If your sense of safety means that you don’t want to be in close proximity to others, that’s OK!
If you’re a hugger or hand shaker and others are comfortable with it — that’s fine, too!
Mutual respect for everyone’s sense of comfort is expected.
Visit the hallway track. (That’s where most of the meeting and greeting takes place.) Say hello to others. Look for those you already know, and those you’d like to get to know.
Make sure your name badge is readily available. We’ve all changed a bit over the last few years, and masks make recognition a little bit more challenging, so make sure your name badge can be read by anyone you encounter.
Having a meal? Sit at tables with people you don’t know. (I love doing this.) I’ve met some amazing folks over years of WordCamps simply by asking if I can join the table.
Whether it’s with a physical business card, electronic business card (I’m really intrigued by the Dot cards, myself), or a QR code to your link tree (I made my own), make it easy to follow up with others after the event. (Taking a photo of their name badge also works!)
Three: Pay Attention to (and Engage in) WCEU Social Media
If you’re in a session and you’re finding really good content, tweet about it! Be sure to include #WCEU and the speaker’s Twitter handle. As a speaker at events, it always makes me excited when people tweet my talk and tag me in the photos and quotes.
In between talks, when there isn’t a session you’re interested in, or before or after the sessions, engage in social media around other talks and the event in general. Find new people to follow who you can learn from. Maybe gain a few new followers, too!
Watch the conference hashtag on Twitter. For WordCamp Europe, follow #WCEU.
On social media you’ll find things like:
- Speaker slides
- Photos from other attendees
- Takeaways and insights from others
- Giveaways from sponsors
- Opportunities for personal connections
Post your own insights, takeaways, funny observations, and more to gain your own social following. You have things to contribute that others can be enriched by, so join the conversation.
Be sure to use the conference hashtag to become part of the conversation. Post photos of slides and other things that impacted you; thank the speakers, sponsors, organizers and volunteers for their hard work; connect with other attendees; and have fun!
Four: Follow Up on Ideas and To-Do’s You Created as a Result of Attending
Many sessions and connections will introduce you to new ideas, new technology, and also challenge you to think of new ways to approach everyday problems and issues in working in WordPress.
You’re bound to want to do some of them, but oftentimes after you shut off the computer these things become part of the past, and not future intentions. If it was a great idea when you heard it, then it should be an idea worth exploring, right?
- Have one page (paper, online note, doc) onto which you put only ideas worth looking into further
- Include the idea, where you heard it and who the speaker was
- Write down 2-3 reasons why you thought it was worth pursuing
- Include any links to resources to look into further
After WCEU, revisit that list and explore the ideas. You never know when your next timesaver, plug-in, business idea, or connection may move you forward in big and small ways. Make the most of your attendance by committing to follow-up on your own thoughts.
Free “thought-organizers” like Monday, ToDoist, Trello, Asana, etc., can be really helpful in making these lists become actionable. (And maybe even give yourself some deadlines to really make them happen.)
Five: Engage with Sponsors (Visit the Hallway Track)
Swag is back! But even more important, the conversations, opportunities, learning experiences, and connections happen there. Visit sponsor booths, join groups of conversations, pay attention to Twitter, and other online connection places. Take advantage of any offers sponsors have. Pick their brains with questions you have. Challenge them on why their product/service is better than others.
The sponsors make the event possible. They’re there to support you and your attendance. Find out why they are so passionate about WordPress.
Engaging with sponsors can really help with learning new things, too! Get questions answered about development, plugins, themes, hosting, find job opportunities, and meet some pretty cool people!
Six: Attend WCEU Contributor Day
When you attend Contributor Day, a few things happen.
- You contribute to the open source project.
- You do a lot of networking.
- You have fun! (And food!)
The sense of accomplishment I get when I attend Contributor Day carries me through a long while.