Edition Twenty Six: The conversations in the hallway are the best.

Conference like a pro

I’m headed to the Online News Association gathering this week, and so are many of my friends. I’m actually talking Middles with Emma Carew Grovum, if you want to join!

When you’re managing-ish, attending a conference is a little bit different. Some random bullet-pointed thoughts on Middles and conferencing.

  • Attend sessions. The best thing you can do for your position, your newsroom, etc is to be there to learn like everyone else. I hated it most when I saw executives who came to speak at one panel and were never seen from again. No matter where you are, there’s plenty to learn.
  • Speaking is great! I speak a lot and it’s plenty of fun. When you’re on stage, make sure you give credit where credit is due. I try to recognize people who aren’t there who worked on something. No one wants to be the person who takes credit for others’ work.
  • Hiring? Be strategic about how you talk about it, recruit and meet people. I announce on whatever app is appropriate what jobs I’m helping to recruit for and if I meet someone who is great, I mention the job, tell them to email me and hope for the best. About 10% of people remember to follow up….the person who remembers to follow up is the one I want to hire anyway.
  • Looking for a job? Follow up with people, as above, and try to figure out which brands/people you want to talk to beforehand and try to schedule time in with them. Tell everyone what you’re looking for, not just job title, but kind of workplace, etc, and hopefully people will help you look. But do not be too pushy. It’s one thing to introduce yourself at a party, its another to semi-stalk someone.
  • Talk to strangers. It is lovely to catch up with friends and be in your comfort zone, but it is even better to discover an amazing human you did not know existed before. Being a connector between two strangers is also a great service.
  • You’re in a position of some power. Don’t forget you’re there to represent as much as you are there to have fun and learn. In some ways, being a boss type means you have to be a little more measured. Just a little.
  • Get off your device. I tend to only take a physical notebook with me to conferences and my phone. Laptops mean I get dragged into work, which is not what I’m there for.


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Great things I’ve read lately
10 things to focus on in your 30s (Mark Manson) Why do we work so hard? (1843) What does “Whose streets? Our Streets!” really mean? (Quartz)

Jobs jobs jobs 
So. Many. Jobs. At. ONA.