Finding people/things to talk to/about at #CILIPconf18

Ok, so this now seems to be turning into a mini series of posts for the CILIP Conference 2018. I mentioned in my Making the most of a conference post that I was going to make a list of people I wanted to meet at the conference. But, when I sat down to write it I felt a bit bemused at where to start.

If you get a list of delegates before you arrive that’s the obvious starting place. But I didn’t have that. So here’s some ideas I’ve used:

  • The programme: Look at who is speaking at the conference. Don’t automatically assume they won’t want to talk to little old you. That’s a mistake I’ve made in the past. But with growing confidence I’ve found that people – even those who I think of as the high and mighty of the LIS world – are far more interested in me and what I do than I thought they would be. It really is a kind, caring and welcoming profession.
  • Arrange a topic-based meetup: Is there anything you’d particularly like to talk to people about? I want to chat to other solo LIS-ers about being a solo-er. So I tweeted to ask if anyone else wanted to talk about that and we’re now having a meetup at the first coffee break on Wednesday (11:00-11:40, meeting at the School Libraries Group stand if you’re interested).
  • Say what you do and ask if anyone is interested in talking to you: I wrote a blog post about what I do, what projects I’ve got coming up on the horizon and other things I’d like to talk to people about. I tweeted about the post and let people come to me. And it’s worked!
  • My “Inspiring” twitter list: I have a list on Twitter of people who’s tweets I find inspiring. They’re people who do interesting stuff and are generally optimistic. It’s a mix of people I would consider peers and people who I look up to as it were, and a mix of people I know and people I’ve never met beyond Twitter. But I’ll be increasing the proportion that I’ve met in person at the conference.
  • Old colleagues: If you’re not in your first LIS job is there anyone from you worked with in previous jobs who you’re still in touch with, or would like to get back in touch with? Email, tweet or LinkedIn message them.
  • Twitter list of delegates: I was contemplating setting up a list on Twitter for all the people attending the conference. But Phil Gorman got there before me – https://twitter.com/philbgorman/lists/cilip-conference-2018/members. Sometimes people’s Twitter bios are enough, but mostly I’ve been combining this list with a LinkedIn/Google search to find out more about people. Is it nosy? Yes, but it’s useful.
  • People tweeting about #CILIPconf18: Now the conference is on top of us lots of people are tweeting about looking forward to, traveling to and arriving at the conference. I’m looking at their Twitter bios and searching for them to find out more about them.

The one thing I feel I’m missing out on with this strategy is that it misses anyone not on Twitter or speaking at the conference. If you have any bright ideas how to find out about those people, please share!

And if you’ve read all that and are now thinking you’ve got loads to do, don’t panic! You don’t have to do any of this. If you just speak to people who are stood next to you in the queue for coffee, who look lonely and who’s cardigan you like, you will meet interesting and engaging people. It’s just that this year there are some specific things and types of people I want to talk to – and I don’t want to miss them in the sea of faces.

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