How you can be more effective as a conference attendee

How you can be more effective as an attendee at a conference and how as a boss you can encourage your people to get the most out of a conference.

How effective are you when you attend a conference?

Do you get the most out of the opportunity?

As a boss, do you wish your people would get more out of the conference for your business?

Chris Adams – Keynote speaker

Chris warns (in his usual straight-shooter style) that lots of conferences can be a waste of time if attendees don’t plan before a conference and make the most of the opportunity with purpose.

Tony Biancotti – conference confessions:  

I must confess, I’ve been guilty of trying too hard to get my money’s worth out of conferences – trying to do too much and learn too much rather than pacing myself.

I’ll use a sporting analogy in the spirit of the Olympics – look at a conference as a long-distance event not a sprint!

In this video Chris shares his main tips:

  • have purpose
  • want to learn
  • identify who you want to meet
  • dare to approach a speaker you want to learn more from
  • don’t pitch – until after you’ve formed a relationship

Chris from experience has learned to be more disciplined and to plan and prioritise:

  • don’t go every session – you’ll get overwhelmed
  • don’t drink too much
  • think of questions you want answers to
  • do some research
  • prioritise –  and plan pick 3 things you want to over 2 day
  • and did I mention – don’t pitch – until after you’ve formed a relationship

and finally,

Make sure you get something out of it that will benefit your career

share what you’ve learned with your work colleagues

Here’s a video of Chris in action as a conference speaker at X Media labs in Melbourne.

Future posts will have lots more tips about conferences. Chris has lots of advice on what Australian conferences can learn from other international conference organisers.

And one more thing, if you see Chris at a conference as a speaker or as an attendee go approach him. Despite his big time movie experience and the stereotype of aloof movie execs – he is very approachable. But don’t try to pitch him – until you form a relationship.






Who is Chris Adams and what is the Chris Adams Project?

I first met Chris at a lunch of school parent friends in suburban Brisbane. All the parents chatted and joked while our kids splashed in a backyard pool. I got to like this wisecracking American – before I got to know who he actually was.

I later found out all the things he had done (working with Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook and bringing to life academy award winning movies such as “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Syriana” with Matt Damon and George Clooney) and all the stuff he is now doing in Australia(digital media agency Beachball Media)

Chris Adams – Hollywood and Facebook Exec

I must confess I was surprised to find a guy with Chris’s experience and “big game” expertise in a Brisbane backyard.  I thought “Hollywood types” had to be rude and obnoxious. Maybe I’d seen too many movies and  episodes of  ”Entourage“! I found Chris to be very knowledgeable – yet approachable. There was so much I wanted to learn from him – how to perform and do business in pressure-cooker environments like Hollywood, how to negotiate and pitch at the highest, high-stakes levels, how to mix a busy work life with family, how to cope when overwhelmed with so many competing tasks. Lots of How To’s!

Tony Biancotti – journalist, Interviewer and yes Bryan Ferry fan!

I pitched Chris the idea of a Project where I’d capture on camera a lot of his knowledge and experience. I wanted to learn – he was happy to share. He could see the benefit of ordering and capturing  all the business and life lessons he’d learned.

Chris and family                                   Tony and family (wife is taking the photo!)

Why the name: Chris Adams Project aka CAP?

Now, I must stress that suggested the name the Chris Adams Project  (CAP)– not Chris.

The name was inspired by the name the Alan Parsons Project (APP), the Austin Powers reference to the Alan Parsons Project, and catchy 3-letter titles like TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)

Also, this is an on-going project and it’s an experiment. Chris and I are busy with our regular work – but we catch up from time to time and I capture his answers to my questions on my flip camera. Fast, easy, do-able!

I must warn you – Chris knows a lot and he talks a lot. My role (as a former journalist) is to capture and organise (curate) all his knowledge into simple, easy-to-digest chunks.

I’m not the greatest cameraperson – but I’m not too bad at interviewing (asking the questions an audience wants to ask) and “packaging” information for an audience. So, if you are happy to accept the lo-fi flavor of this project, I reckon you can learn a lot too from Chris.

If you have any questions you think you and others can benefit from, please contact me and I’ll add them to the list of questions I want ask Chris.

The project is meant to be low-key, lo-fi, easy and enjoyable.

Enjoy!  Tony


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