Next time a cool conference is in town, here's what you do:
• Go to the venue on day 2 of the conference, or after lunch on day 1, then security and staff is more relaxed.For more daring people:
• Be dressed up, but conservatively, don’t wear anything that attracts special attention.
• Wear a big scarf around your neck. It could be hiding the conference badge you..ehrm.. do not have. If someone still should ask for your non-existing badge, maybe in order to let you in to the lunch buffet, you have accidentally left your badge in your office. So typical. Sigh.
• If possible, follow the crowd. If crowd is unavailable, walk confidently to the information desk; ask of the room for the 'morning/afternoon plenary session'.
• Network as much as you can, but don’t give business cards - take cards and promise to email or call (then you can do the screening).
• Ask a question when the floor is being opened for Q&A, no one will think an intruder does that.
• Always use your real name and organization, otherwise future contacts will be difficult.
• If an important person, like say the Vice President of Ghana, comes by, be sure to shake hands. Maybe even smile.
• Thank the organizers for a wonderful event using their first name (look at their badge). “Dear Margret, I’m Kajsa Hallberg, thank you for a great couple of days!”
For less daring people or people who plan ahead:
• Call or email the organizers in advance explaining that you are interested in the conference, but you/your organization cannot afford it. Do they let NGO’s in for free? Do they need help preparing the venue/the conference folders/the coffe breaks?
And remember, it is easier to be forgiven than allowed.