Greg and I are hosting the International Conference on Computing (ICCM) this week. It's been a long time preparing. Monday (today) night is when all the attendees introduce themselves to each other. Here's the explanation I wrote as to "why?"
Executive summary: Introduction time on Monday night is a critical time for networking and discovering people who are working on the same types of projects you are. Bring the directory from your registration packet and take notes! You'll have one minute (no more!) to introduce yourself and share what you do and if there's a particular answer you're looking for.
Cool story version:
"A conference where everyone introduces themselves on opening night? You've got to be kidding!" That was my response when my boss told me about opening night introductions at ICCM. I was incredulous! How boring and just... why?????
It was my first ICCM. I dutifully brought my directory and introduced myself when it was my turn. "Hi, my name is Dorinda. I work with Gospel for Asia doing helpdesk and training and I'm trying to figure out what to use for helpdesk software." Next person.
And as introductions continued, I found myself paying more and more attention. Hey - that person is a helpdesk person! I wonder what they use for their helpdesk software. I quickly put a star next to their name in the directory. By the end of the introductions, I had quite a list of people that I wanted to talk to and I spent the next four days tracking them down at lunches and break times and BOFs. That was the start of networking relationships that have continued for years. (I met my husband at ICCM that year, but that's another story...)
Many of you (especially first-timers) may have similar questions and astonishment when you see on the schedule that Monday evening is devoted to introductions. (http://www.iccm.org/pmwiki.php?n=Y2012.CurrentConference) Some people are tempted to skip that time and come for the "good stuff" in the keynotes or the sessions in following days. But yet the introduction time can create valuable networking opportunities. There may not be a session on, "What to do when your Asterisk server drives you crazy." But when you hear the guy in the blue shirt say he oversees Asterisk at his office, you may have found someone who knows the answer to your problems."
So summary? Come enjoy Monday evening! Eat more chicken with the Chick-Fil-A cows, bring your directories, and get ready for a fun time of sharing, videos, introductions, and networking.
We can't wait to see you!