TestBash UK 2023 is just around the corner. I can't wait to see you all.
Let's be honest though, an in-person conference — like TestBash — can feel overwhelming! Beyond planning your schedule there are important things to remind yourself of. I'm going to share five items which over my years of attending conferences have helped me ease into it all, make the most of my time (and others) and set myself up for an enjoyable experience.
1. Acknowledge you can’t do it all
In-person conferences create many possibilities to connect and learn with fellow testing professionals. It would be too much — and logistically impossible — to be everywhere at once. Accept that you can’t do it all and that you will make the most of the things you can participate in. Some conferences offer a revisited experience so you can catch up on the stuff you missed much later after the event e.g. ReTestBash UK 2023.
2. Embrace the random conversations
Some of the best moments are the random chats you have with people you haven’t seen for a while or someone you’ve just met. Chance conversations could happen whilst queueing up during a break or as you’re sitting down for a talk/workshop. Be curious about others and ask them questions. I get nervous, particularly when I'm sparking up a conversation with someone I'm meeting for the first time. I have four go-to questions: “What brings you here?”, “What are you working on at the moment?”, “What have you enjoyed so far?” and “What are you looking forward to?”
3. Step back to soak it all in
Once in a while, take a step back, look around and enjoy the view and sounds. It’s easy to get caught up in the hubbub of activity. Reflect on how exciting it is to be part of a hive of learning and connecting. Smile at the intensity of it all. These moments don’t last forever and can feel like they are over in an instant.
4. Grab breaks to manage energy levels
Make the most of the scheduled breaks and be aware of how food and drinks affect you. It’s important to look after your energy levels in a way that works for you regardless of what others are up to. I have to remind myself that “I’m not gonna compare myself to that person and their energy”. Search for an official quiet room or outdoor space if you need time out to reset your brain and recharge your energy levels.
5. Take selfies and group photos
While you might capture conference photos during the event and share them on social platforms, it’s lovely to come back to those photos once in a while in the future. I find they spark fond memories and help revisit conversations. And that might just help you spark an idea or two when future you is stuck trying to solve a problem.
Enjoy TestBash and catch up with you soon. 😃
— Simon Tomes, CommunityBoss
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