Conference Rules

So I have attended my fair share of conferences over the years, but the one I just returned from “inspired” me to create a short list of “suggestions” for future conferences. These are suggestions for the attendees, not the organizers – and I would like to think that all of these fall into the “common sense” category. Then again, since I have to write these down, it seems clear that they do not.

These rules are in no particular order – just how they popped into my head.


Rule 1 – Badge Wearing – I realize that the conference folks go to great efforts to make the badges “cool” or at least non-offensive. And maybe you have some super special status that is shown on the badge. Maybe it’s a pretty color – not sure. But for the love of Christ, take your badge OFF when you leave the conference!! Maybe you get a pass if you are in the same hotel – maybe – but for you people that like to wear your badge all over the City you are in, then the only “badge” you should be wearing is the “L” (aka – loser) badge. Not only do you look like a dork, but by highlighting the fact that you are there for a conference, you are now a “target” for anyone soliciting anything – and yes, that includes the working ladies (and yes, they are there – every time – open your eyes). So just take the damn badge off OK?


Rule 2 – Session Pictures – I understand that whatever the speaker is presenting may just blow your mind, but if it has been made abundantly clear that all of the presentations will be made available to you, why are you wasting your time and annoying the person behind you by holding up your phone to take a crappy picture of the screen which you will likely never use?! Is this some race to social media – like you need to be the first one to post it? You are going to get the full-resolution version within days, so how about you chill out, just take it all in, and reference it later when you get it? Or, just write down a reminder to download that specific presentation so you don’t forget?  I see this at every session, without fail, and just don’t understand it.


Rule 3 – Session Attendance – OK – there is a lot to this one, due mainly to all the infractions that I see.  Here we go:

  • If you are late to a session, for whatever reason, then your penalty is to either a) stand in back or b) take the walk of shame up to the front, where there are almost always seats. Do NOT climb over a half dozen people that are very comfortable in the back, just to hide that fact that you are late and disruptive.
  • If you take the time to show up at a session, do NOT leave in the middle – period. There is really no excuse for this. If you didn’t take the time to read up on the session to see what it was about, that’s your fault. Don’t insult the speaker and disrupt the session, just because you are unprepared – very uncool. If you have to, check your phone or get some work done – just don’t get up and leave.
  • This one should not have to be said, but do not ever, under any circumstance, come to a session late and then leave in the middle. I cannot imagine what would cause that behavior, other than the person being a complete idiot.
    • That said, my proposal to conference planners is that if a person does that, their badge should be automatically deactivated.
    • If some moron does this at a customer session, then their flight home is also canceled.
    • If the badge was deactivated and they walk into any other session, the badge scanners should automatically taze that person.


I have another list for the conference organizers, but I’ll save that for another blog. Feel free to add to this list, by the way, as I’m sure I didn’t catch all of the “infractions” out there.