Monday, February 19, 2018

Black Enterprise: Conference Etiquette

Okay, we all go to a lot of conferences.  And we all know those nettlesome conference participants that ruin it for the rest of us that follow the unwritten code of etiquette.  Black Enterprise has a GREAT post that says what we wish we could.  I’ve run into THAT PERSON at every single conference I’ve attended in my lifetime.  Very helpful as we begin the conference season.

Business etiquette and common courtesy still counts, even in the age of social media, video conferencing and e-mailed thank you notes. And the absence of it is rarely more apparent than at business conventions and networking events such as the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference, the 2011 edition of which will bring more than 1,000 business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to Atlanta next month.

Whether out of naive inexperience or an ingrained and practiced insensitivity to others, there is always a hopefully small percentage of attendees who sabotage their return on investment from their conference attendance by forgetting that the first rule of networking is to bring positive value and experiences to others. Common courtesy is rarely common, and almost never an accident. Smart business people go out of their way to avoid being THAT PERSON. Make brushing up on your business etiquette a part of your conference preparation. Remember, mistakes can be not only embarrassing to you and others, but can be costly, causing you to lose key connections or potential contracts.

My top conference participants behaving badly pet peeves from Black Enterprise’s list?

THAT PERSON who arrives a half-hour after the session has started and insists on coming to the front of the room and squeezing past a dozen seated attendees in order to sit next to a colleague. And don’t be THAT [OTHER] PERSON, the colleague who saved the seat, not allowing anyone else to sit there even though they actually arrived on time for the session. This seat is reserved? Really? No, really? Actually, it isn’t. The only seat you own is the one you’re sitting in—period. If you arrive after the session has started, take the nearest available seat and settle in as discreetly as possible, doing your best to not be a distraction to others. Reconnect with your colleague after the session.

Oh, and then there’s:

THAT PERSON who commandeers and dominates the Q&A time at the end of conference sessions. The moderator called for questions—not your business plan’s executive summary, credentials as a business owner or your pitch for new customers. Still, that person insists on treating the Q&A session as their private consultation with the panel, with zero regard for the 10 people waiting in line to ask their questions and the hundreds of session attendees who came for answers—from the panelists, not you. Conference protocol and basic courtesy call for you to state your name, ask one question and take your seat, so that as many other people as possible can get their questions in, too, and every attendee can benefit from the answers.

Read the full list.

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