conference, connection, community

The Right Way to Disengage at a Conference

I attended a conference recently. Honestly, I love conferences.

The great ones have a pulse, an energy that’s contagious and invigorating.

Conferences introduce new content, showcase compelling speakers, and offer generous opportunities for networking.

At a recent conference I attended, I found a table in the main event hall, introduced myself to my table mates and sat down. Including me, there were five people at our table. There, sitting across from me, were three people from the same company.

Between sips of coffee, I said:

“Hello, I am Dan. Nice to meet you. What brought you to the event today?”

Two of the three company mates looked at their boss, delegating the agony of responding to him which he obliged.

“Not sure. It seemed like a cool event so here we are,” he mumbled between bites of chicken.

I mistakenly expected some quid pro quo, some token of reciprocity.

Something like: “Thank you for asking. What brought you here today?”

Instead, I got stone cold, awkward silence. While other tables exchanged lively banter, I watched as the three co-workers sunk into their smart phones, choosing to push away from a chance at connection, relationship.

Suggestion: don’t sit with your co-workers at an event. You’ll use their presence as a crutch, relinquishing an opportunity to invest in new, promising, potentially life-changing relationships.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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