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8 must-haves for conferences in 2009

About once a year, I go to a formal conference, I am not sure why.   I prefer unconferences and most conferences these days are streamed. I could put my feet up and watch at home.

So for me, there is an increasingly “high ticket to entry”.

I think these 5 are what are called “table stakes” .  They are the minimum to be credible.

1.  I want the venue to be clean (it usually is in the UK).

2. I want parking (preferably free). Importantly, though I want details on how and where to park. That means the postal code and how I will pay and for what period. Should I have trekked off to bank to find pound coins in advance, etc. What do I do if the machine is broken, etc.

3.  I want the postal code of the venue. Google has maps and cars and phones have satnav. I don’t want a diagram or written instructions. I want a postal code so I can use the map of my choice. But peculiarities like the number of exits at the Tube, the one for me and direction I should turn when I hit fresh air would be good. London is notorious for not marking its streets.

4.  I want working WIFI and it should work the minute I switch on my device.

5.  I want to know where to get refreshments. In the UK, we usually travel a long way. When the hosts provide refreshments, they really do need to be healthy and match the diversity of UK.  Otherwise arrangements at a local eaterie might be preferable.  I don’t want to ruin my health for the sake of being cheap.

With Web 2.0, I think we get another list which allows us to prepare before we come to the meeting.

We don’t want to spend several days following people up afterward. Ideally, when we walk out the door, we’ve wrapped up our routine business and moved on to coordinating opportunities that arose out of the meeting.

1.  Registration on Amiando because they provide a community. Meetup is fine for non-conferences.

2.  Registration information that does not dwell on rank or institution. Life has changed. I don’t want to talk to you if you don’t want to talk to me! Tell me why you are there and what I can do for you.   In advance. Put up a link to your blog and give me your Twitter name.  I’ll scan the lists and connect up with you before the meeting.

3. A Twitter stream is good but so is a way to find each other.  We must have contact information in advance and our twitter names should be on the participants’ list.

I am looking forward to the wider use of ecards too. I don’t want to enter cards when I get home. I want to send an ecard directly to my contacts database. That’s for 2010.

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