Seven Ways To Get The Most Out Of PodCamp Toronto

This coming weekend – February 20-21 – social media enthusiasts from coast to coast will descend on Toronto for PodCamp Toronto 2010. For the third year in a row, I’m part of the organizing committee, although a busy day job means I’ve taken a back seat this year.

PodCamp Toronto 2010Every year this weekend makes up one of the highlights of my event calendar. Whether it’s the chance to absorb new thinking, to catch up with friends, to meet new people or to get feedback from others on my ideas, it’s always a weekend well spent.

As I type, there are 993 registrants for the weekend. We’re likely to hit 1,100 by the time the event hits. The number of people in close proximity can be a little overwhelming, so here are a few tips for getting the most out of your PodCamp Toronto:

  1. Know WHAT you want. There are almost 60 sessions over the two days. Check out the schedule in advance (it will be posted this week) and know what you want to see (*ahem* I’m presenting. Just sayin’…:)).
  2. Be flexible. Remember that PodCamp Toronto is an unconference. The schedule will change – sessions will be added; sessions will be cancelled. Take advantage of this by staying alert and changing your plans so you can check out the best sessions for you.
  3. The Law of Two Feet. This is one of the founding principles of PodCamp. If you aren’t getting what you want out of a session, you can get up and leave. There’s no stigma attached as there is in other events – this is all about you getting the most out of the event. So, if you aren’t getting anything out of one session, leave and check out another one.
  4. Know WHO you want. Check out the registration list and pull-out a list of people you want to meet at the event. Connect with them in advance if you can. Don’t be creepy, but do take advantage of the chance to meet thought leaders in an informal setting.
  5. Participate. PodCamp IS the participants. The sessions, the atmosphere, the after-party :). It’s all about the participants. If you have a question, ask it. If you have a thought, present it. Get involved. If you don’t get what you want out of the event and you haven’t participated, it’s your own fault.
  6. The Halls! Look around in the halls during the sessions. You’ll see a lot of people sitting around talking. That’s because, while the sessions are fabulous, much of the best activity at PodCamp happens in the halls – separate from the sessions as groups congregate, talk and connect. If you see a bunch of people sitting around, ask if you can join them.
  7. Socialize. PodCamp Toronto is an event itself, but there are plenty of other PodCamp-related things going on before, during and after PodCamp. Watch the #pcto2010 hashtag in the days leading up to the event and during the event itself, and keep an eye on the PodCamp Toronto blog too.

See you there?