How to Look Smart at Your Next Tech Conference

The best thing about going to a tech conference is that you can tell everyone you’re going to a tech conference. But while you’re there, it’s important you make a smart impression so people will remember you, or at least wait a few days before throwing away your business card. Here are 10 ways to do that.

#1 Put an exciting, non-standard title on your business card

If you’re in marketing, say you’re a ‘Storyteller’. If you’re a founder, call yourself the ‘Chief Everything Officer’, or ‘The Janitor’. And if you’re a software engineer, say you’re a ‘Code Czar’, ‘Pig Farmer’ or simply, ‘God’. Use words like ‘warrior’, ‘evangelist’, and ‘ninja’.

#2 Use the Q&A portion to promote yourself

The most important part of asking a question in front of an audience is not what question you ask, but everything you say before you ask the question to get people’s attention and make them realize you’re someone they should be talking to.

#3 Don’t take notes, take sketch notes

What are sketchnotes? Nobody knows. Just doodle in a notebook and say you’re sketchnoting. Then take a picture of your doodle and post it on Twitter. Since no one will be able to understand it, they’ll have to assume this tech conference was very complicated.

#4 Between sessions, stand in an open area laughing on your phone


Stand in an open area where many people can see you. As conference attendees walk by, they will see you totally winning on the phone. They’ll wonder who it is you’re talking to and what it is you’re talking about. They’ll be aching to find out, but you’re on the phone so they won’t be able to – double bonus.

#5 If someone mentions an app you’ve never heard of, pretend like you’ve heard of it

Never say you’ve never heard of that app, platform, technology or whatever. Always nod along so it seems like you’re in the know, then look it up later.

#6 Comment on how there’s no line for the women’s bathroom


Use the long men’s bathroom line as a segue to discuss the problems with diversity in tech, even though you’re really just complaining about how long the line is.

#7 Talk about how great this conference used to be


Talk about how great this conference used to be back in the day. If you’re not old enough to have gone back in the day, just say you’ve “heard the stories”. Never get overly excited about the conference, no matter how awesome it is. Always agree that it’s awesome but in a tone that lets people know you go to these things all the time and it takes a lot to impress you.

#8 Complain about the wi-fi

Even if the wi-fi is blazingly fast, complaining about it makes it seems like you have very high wi-fi speed standards. Say you really need to get something done but you’re not sure if you’ll be able to. This also saves your ass when your manager asks you if you were able to get that thing done.

#9 Hashtag every status update you make from the conference, even if it has nothing to do with the conference and even if you’re sharing on a platform that doesn’t really support hashtags


This increases your visibility to those following the hashtag and you will certainly gain a few new followers who are just as annoyed with you as your current followers.

#10 Email your coworkers about how excited you are to share your learnings, but then don’t


Make sure to email you coworkers immediately about how amazing the conference was. Let them know you’ll share your learnings as soon as you’ve had time to organize them, but then never get around to it.

About the author

Sarah Cooper

Sarah Cooper is an author and speaker. Her first book, 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings, landed at #1 on Amazon in the Books > Humor > Business humor > Paperback books > Books with pages > Handheld books category.

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