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SES NYC and Conference Tips.

Let’s meet at SES NYC – and Conference Tips.

So in a week I’ll be in NYC for the SES conference. I don’t think I’ll be attending too many sessions, so if you’re into meeting up, I’m free most days, and each night you can find me at these parties. Send me an email (my first name at We Build Pages .com) and I’ll shoot you over my cell phone #.  Call me when you’re free, and we’ll get together for a chat.

Here’s some tips I’ve picked up over the past 5 years from attending over 25 SEO conferences.

Write down questions you’d like answered, or goals you’d like to accomplish.
Give you cell phone number to those you want to meet with before you head out.

Meet as many people as you can:
Introduce yourself to everyone you can, keep moving, keep networking, and if you see someone alone, speak to them. Don’t wait for them to walk up to you, take the initiative. Even if you’re normally shy, do it anyway – this person might be able to answer all your questions and could become your biggest ally – you never know.

Try to give info freely – the more you give, the more you’re apt to get back in return.
Don’t be paranoid about your "trade secrets".

Not all attendees are there to "do business". Don’t push your business on people, and don’t focus on selling. Make friends, and things will move from there.

A few Opening lines:
What Industry are you in?
Is this your first SES conference?
Did you learn anything new today?
Have you been to NY before?
Where are you from?
What do you do?

Avoid your co-workers.  I too often see people from the same company chatting in circles with each other. A circle of chatting people from the same company to me doesn’t seem to be an open invitation to join that chat. I’d rather chat 1 on 1 rather than me and 5 people from the same company…and why should I try to to even chat with a group of 5 people chatting in a circle?

Todd and I usually go to most of the conferences together, yet we hardly see each other during the conference time…and that’s the way it should be, we can compare notes afterwards, and I can chat with Todd any day – at conferences, we split up.

Take lots of business cards. When you take a business card, put a small note on it to remember why you took it.
Give lots of business cards (bring at least 100 of your own cards), put a note on it before you give your card away to help them (jot a note before handing to them , ie, "get links", or "provides SEO services", or "does affiliate work" etc.)

Take lots of notes.
Carry a pen and paper around with you at all times…even at the parties.

Late into the night people will be hanging at the bars, and at the parties (read the party list).
Buy people drinks. This is a great way to get tips from people you respect, buy them a beer and ask them some questions.

Pace yourself – this is a 4 day conference, which means 5 nights for most of us. If you party hard night 1, the next few nights might be recovery time. Nurse your drinks! Think about "tomorrow". Know what time the first session  in the morning which you plan to attend, and know how important that earliest session is to you, so when you’re partying the prior night you can decide when you’re going to bed (based on the fun your having, vs the early session topic).

Misc tips.
Bring your camera and take pictures (see Jim’s conference pics).
Don’t tell Matt Cutts any of your websites!
Though it’s usually not the cheapest hotel in town, I’ve found it’s worth it to stay at the hotel where the conference is being held.
Book your hotel room early.
If you had to miss a session, or want to compare notes, see Search Engine RoundTable Coverage.
Have at least one nice meal out with friends.
Bring an empty backpack in your suitcase to fill with swag from the exhibit hall.
Have Fun

Are you going?
What tips would you offer?


[tags]search engine optimization, SES, NYC, SEO, SEM, conference[/tags]


12 Responses

  1. Pingback: feed my brain »
  2. Damn Jim, I wish I had your advice before I went to my first few conferences.

    Setting goals, planning meetings ahead and pacing yourself are all sage advice. I think it’s also good to remember to re-connect with people you might have met at previous conferences as well.

    Also, be sure to have a concise explanation of what it is that you do. Think: “elevator pitch”.

    See you there.

  3. I’ve been doing SEO exclusively since October of last year and attended my first SES in Chicago (December 2005). I suppose I am still a “newbie” but I feel as though I have learned a wealth of information over a short period of time and have been able to put a lot of it into practice. I credit most of the information I know now to what I have learned at SES.

    The sessions were very informative, but what helped me most was just being exposed to the community and discovering the vast amount of resources available to anybody who wishes to learn.

    Since I was “new,” I mostly kept to myself… but I sat front and center in every session I attended and simply thanked the speakers and shook hands if I had the chance.

    My tip would be to take notes and highlight the speakers you like. This is what I did, and since the conference, I have been visiting their websites and reading their blogs which have led me to other valuable resources.

    I think the best thing about SEO is the fellowship and the unselfish nature to help and provide information.

    Unfortunately, I will not be attending SES-NY, but I will be going to at least one of the them later this year. I am very jealous of the organized partying that is going to be happening in contrast to Chicago’s ONE party… lol 🙂

  4. Excellent tips Jim. Will be using these for my first SES conference in China. Got any tips for first time panelists too? 🙂

  5. A few great places to eat in midtown Manhattan;
    Park Blue – Great vibe any time; after work (5:00 PM) or the wee hours when it gets its groove goin’. Serves food untill 4 AM.
    La Cote Basque – Grand Master Chef Jean Jacque Rachou’s brasserie. This guy has forgotten more than many celebrity chefs will ever learn. A classic.
    Molyvos -If you like whole roasted fish, go. Either way, it’s all good..
    Beacon – It’s all good.
    21 – Another classic, an institution ( jacket required, no jeans, but it’s worth it.) It’s all good.

  6. Jim, that point about bringing notepad and pen to the parties is superb. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve been half tooted up and thought “I better right that down, ’cause I won’t remember that tomorrow, and it’s important”. I was handed at least two tips at the last pubcon that for the life of me I can’t remember what they were.

  7. Marc – tip for speaking:
    Here’s 1 tip:

    If I’m speaking after noon, I might have a glass of wine first….but seems I mostly have to speak at the 9:00 sessions.

    Warning, I saw one speaker drink a bunch before his presentation, and he didn’t do too well.

    I usually try to ask one question to engage the audioence, and aim for some humor as well.

  8. Jim,

    a great post with a ton of cool tips… too bad I cannot make it to NYC – would love to meet , but this time just too busy here..

    Next beer schedule is latest August / SES San Jose 🙂

    talk to you soon,

  9. Great tips as always, Jim. I’m printing these out to take with me so I can remind myself to keep moving and talk to as many people as possible.

    How about a helicopter ride around New York City while we’re there?

  10. Bill….hum….we’ve done San Fran before together….NY…hum…maybe! Let’s take a few other people up who want consulting from us and we’ll chat with them for an our before or after the tour….kinda a trade…consult with Jim and Bill in exchange for them paying for our helecoptor tour….any takers?…prob not from my educated readers….but maybe. Takers?

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