Networking at ILI2011

There's more to a conference than the official programme. Delegates at ILI2011 can look forward to some great networking opportunities.

Let's get informal

With less than a fortnight to go until Internet Librarian International kicks off, my mind has been turning to how to make the most of the opportunities offered by attending an international conference.  It's not just the opportunity to hear from experts in the formal programming sessions, or the pre-event workshops.  There is, as we all know, more to a conference than the programme itself. 

There are, of course, the informal networking opportunities.  The chance as Bethan Ruddock puts it, to meet people in 'real life'.  It's putting faces to names and meeting new people.  It's about having creative conversations, some 'me too' moments and gathering ideas to take away and develop.  It's about sharing and collaborating.  It's about having a good time.

Plan of action - ahead of the conference

Familiarise yourself again with the programme and the speakers.  Think about which of the sessions, streams and speakers particularly appeal to you.   Hazel Hall (@hazelh) recommends getting to know speakers and delegates via Twitter.  Some speakers and delegates are already using the hashtag #ili2011 so check out what they are talking about ahead of time.  It's a good idea to think about people you would like to meet at the Conference and also to check which of your colleagues and professional contacts plan to be there.  Remember that several key suppliers will be appearing in the Sponsor Showcase so plan ahead if you wish to meet with them formally.  Or you can, of course, simply drop by to say hello to them.  And don't forget to bring along your business cards!

Networking opportunities

SLA Europe and Information Today are hosting a Networking Reception and Question Time at 18.30 - 20.30 on Wednesday 26th October.   The event (sponsored by EBSCO) means you can start networking with fellow delegates in a relaxed and vibrant environment as well as hearing conference speakers Bethan Ruddock, Ulla de Stricker, and Dave Pattern.  (You can book your space on this session here.) Coffee and lunch breaks offer more networking opportunities of course.  Alex Morrice (@decobydesign), via Twitter, reminded me that it is conversations that make a difference.  Be prepared to talk, make the first move and share ideas.  Active participation is the way forward.

The Evening Reception takes place on Thursday 27th October.  Join us for drinks between 17.00 and 18.00.  You can also join fellow delegates at a networking dinner.  As in previous years, we will be encouraging those looking for fellow diners to sign up to dinner groups. 

Serials Solutions is kindly sponsoring a breakfast meeting which will be held on Friday 8.00 - 8.45.  You can register to attend here.

Ready for your close-up?

We are delighted that Sarah Ison (@sarahjison) and Emma Illingworth (@wigglesweets) (both from Brighton University) have agreed to join us as official video bloggers and photographers of the conference.  They will be looking to interview speakers and delegates about their experiences of the conference.   Videos and photographs will appear on the Information Today Europe website.

Honing our skills

The good news is that networking and collaboration are part of the toolkit needed to be an effective info-pro.  So even when we are talking with others over lunch, dinner or a drink we can honestly say that we are honing our professional skills.

Photograph courtesy of Aidan Jones via Flickr.