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Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Top Three Tips for SES Toronto 2009

If you're planning to attend SES Toronto this year (or planning to send employees), take it from me. I've been going to multiple search conferences annually for about seven years and I can tell you these tips are 100% guaranteed to help you get the most bang for your buck, and reduce headaches.

1. Use Hotwire to save on your hotel. For many, it's preferable to stay at the conference venue, to be sure, but that can be pricey and they do run out of the better rooms. Most of the hotels Hotwire uses are close to where you want to be and they're dirt cheap! Why not save 50-70% off this item if you can? Here's a fun challenge. Try to book something at the conference venue itself using Hotwire! Now that would be a coup.

If you find something super cheap, in the 70% off range, wouldn't it be mighty tempting to stay an extra couple of days, take in a ballgame or play, sightsee on Toronto Island...?

2. Networking, schmetworking. Make your first priority to attend a lot of sessions. Yeah I said it! And when planning which sessions to attend, try to add some that are in your areas of weakness, as opposed to hearing a rehash of areas you already know about. Now once you've gotten your butt out of bed and attended keynotes and sessions, do you think that is going to hurt your networking? No, it can only help, as you'll now have something intelligent to discuss. You can sleep later, after the event is over.

3. If you hate paying half a dinner bill for 15 people, or simply hate awkward scenes where 15 people dither over the bill or throw 15 different credit cards into the middle of the table, avoid those 15-person "crowd" dinners. Toronto has a million great restaurants so why are you just following the pack down the street to Shoeless Joe's or Crocodile Rock? Get a plan together and take 4-5 interesting folks with you... not 15. You networked over lunch, at the reception, and in between sessions, and you're still planning to go to the party, right?

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