The Space Between: Why I Love Conferences and Why Squares Conference is Going to be Fantastic

I’ve been to a dozen or so conferences in the past few years.

I’ve seen wonderful speakers, attended a range of workshops, and learned an enormous amount from some of the best in the business.

This year’s Squares Conference lineup looks like it will live up to my expectations, in terms of speakers and workshops. I have little doubt I’ll be soaking in as much knowledge as my brain will allow.

But the real reason I’m looking forward to Squares Conference is because of the space between the presentations and workshops.

Networking is often seen as a business necessity. I hand my business card to you, I kindly take your card back, and later on we add each other on LinkedIn. Down the road, maybe we work together.

The truth is, however, that networking is much more than a business goal.

For me, networking means making new friends and having the kind of important, educated conversations about UX and design that are as educational as they inspiring. Learning from your neighbors is as important as learning from the world class speakers that you’ll meet this year at Squares Conference.

Squares Conference is loaded with opportunities to meet and interact with fellow designers and developers, including three parties: a Pre-Party, an After-Party, and a Goodbye Party.

Here are a few tips to use the breaks, lunches, and parties to your advantage:

  • First, be confident and smile. Smiles are the best ice breakers.
  • Second, have a good question in mind for your new friends beyond “What do you do?”. I like to ask people what challenges they’ve faced with projects or clients lately and what they did to help solve those problems.
  • Finally, find out what people learned from the presentations – not just whether or not they liked the presentation.

I always write three bullet points I learned from each presentation and I refer back to my bullet points later on. This not only gives me some points to remember for later, but it also gives me some nice talking points for the space between presentations.

And, as the final kicker – register for the Squares Conference here and get 10% off using the code “LAUNCHDFW”.

You can learn more about the conference and register by visiting the Squares Conference site, or by following them on Twitter or Facebook.

Andrew Zusman
israelihoosier@gmail.com

Andrew is a user experience designer at Velocis in Dallas, Texas. He is also an accomplished teacher of user experience design. He taught at Israel's Netcraft Academy for UX Design and Development. Andrew is the creator and editor of the popular newsletter UXKingdom (UXKingdom.com). You can follow him on Twitter: @UXAndrew