With only a few months until Shopify Unite - set for June 18-20 in Toronto - now is the perfect time to start building your plans for the annual conference. Set to focus on enhancements to Shopify’s platform, plenty of educational sessions, and giving developers, designers, and merchants hands-on-time, Shopify Unite is all about the collaborative experience. Shopify will soon release the full agenda, but prior to that, we’ve put together some basic tips to help you make the most of your time at Unite.
Prior to the conference, your pre-planning will lead you to maximizing the most of your time. If you are looking to meet with specific vendors, attend sessions, or any extra activities, make sure you plot all of that out. Some activities, like office hours, require sign ups in advance, so lock those in early.
Networking doesn’t begin when you get to the venue, it happens well in advance. For starters, you can scan through the companies attending list, and from there you can get an idea of who you may want to connect with at Shopify Unite. There is a good chance you can reach out to them in advance and set up times to meet, which can lead to new partnerships, clients, and even employees. It doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on the competition, too.
Then of course there is Twitter. People are already using the #shopifyUnite hashtag. By checking that out, you may find other people of interest to connect with prior to the conference, which can help break the ice a bit. Also, if Shopify uses the Shopify Events app again this year, it will have a good source of info, too.
Prepare Your Pitch and Questions
By attending any sort of conference, you can expect learning and networking to be a focal point. Prior to attending, set yourself a goal. With a goal in mind, you can then better prepare your pitch for what you do or what your company does, as well as having any specific questions for speakers.
Meet with Clients/Merchants
While this may not apply to everyone, there is a good chance that you will have either clients or merchants also attending the conference. Like you, everyone is going to have their time monopolized by sessions and networking, so doing a bit of outreach prior may help you set up a time to meet up. If never hurts to get some face time in.
Tweet at Presenters
Public speaking isn’t easy, and getting in time with a presenter after their session isn’t always feasible. By doing a bit of tweeting during their session, it’s pretty easy to open a dialogue with them after. Not only does this show some appreciation and that you are paying attention, it makes it a bit easier to connect with them after the fact.
Learn All The Things
At conferences, learning is paramount. Not only are you going to gain new information by attending sessions, but also by chatting with your fellow attendees. Learn what other developers and designers are up to, their latest techniques, and be sure to continue the conversation after the conference.
Post-Unite Follow Ups
It’s easy to become overwhelmed while at a conference, so following up with your new connections after the fact is important. On your flight or road trip home, take some time to connect with them on LinkedIn, send out an email, or if you want to go the extra mile, a hand written card can go a long way.
Once you’ve done your follow ups, it’s time to share the love. Whatever knowledge and insights you gained during the conference shouldn’t just be bottled up. Toss that information into an email or even a slide deck, toss your colleagues in a conference room for a half hour, and teach them some of your new findings.
Bonus: Cords and Power
If you want to make quick friends with your attendees, bring extra charging cords with you. Also, always bring a backup battery. There always tends to be a shortage of power outlets when you need it most.