Get the most out of Local Tech Events
4 Nov 16 by Michelle Bishop
At Sourced we are passionate about the local Christchurch technology sector and our team loves to get involved with a variety of local events. We often get feedback from both candidates and clients that they don’t know where to find out what is on or crucially how to personally get the most out of these events.
The Canterbury Tech Cluster (CTC) does a great job of providing an overview of the events and Meetups in our local region, so rather than re-invent the wheel we thought we would share this information with our network. In addition we have provided information on events not included on CTC and our guide to getting the most out of professional networking.
Canterbury Tech Event Listings
Events generally fall into three categories: informal get-togethers, workshops and professionally organised conferences / speaker sessions.
The best place to find out information on local get-togethers is Meetup. Meetup is an online network dedicated to getting people with similar interests (professional or personal) to meet up offline. There are a wide range of well-established Meetup Groups in Canterbury, CTC have compiled this list of 25 Groups which includes most of those related to the Christchurch technology sector. In additional this CTC page keeps track of the events that are planned over the next 30 days.
The annual Canterbury Tech Summit (formerly Canterbury Software Summit) is the South Island's largest Tech event, and is well worth a visit. Besides this, we have a number of upcoming technology events to watch out for this year, including SingularityU NZ Summit on 14-16th November and Christchurch Hacker Conference on 12th November.
There are also four workshops run by the IT Professionals (ITP),
Getting the Most Out of Events
As you can see there is always plenty going on in Canterbury. Your reasons for attending events such as these will obviously vary depending on your professional and personal goals and interests.
Often events are a great place to learn and hear from others who may be working on something similar to you but know a different way of doing it. They can also be a great place to relax and talk with like-minded people outside of a work environment.
The most significant other reason for attending events is to network with the objective of finding new job opportunities or to learn more about a company you are potentially interested in working for. With this in mind Sourced has prepared a short guide to help make your networking efforts a little easier.
Do Your Homework
The days of going to events without knowing who else is attending are long gone. Sites such as Meetup allow you to see all attendees prior to the event. If you can’t locate an attendee list, research the people at the companies that are sponsoring or hosting the event.
Once you have found an attendee who could be of interest, spend a little time reviewing their LinkedIn profile and GitHub account to understand their work experience and projects. You can also often generate warm leads by engaging with attendees on Twitter in advance of the event, or use it to find potential areas of shared interest outside of work. This follower list is a good place to start looking for Christchurch Technology people who are on Twitter.
Interact / Move Outside of your Comfort Zone
To make yourself noticed be prepared to ask questions of the speaker and contribute to the group discussions. Also try to speak to at least one new person at every event you attend.
Make Conversations Personal
People don’t always wish to talk about their work, often the best conversations are about subjects that have nothing to do with the event itself.
Attend the After Event Drinks
Post-event there is often a smaller group of attendees that will head out for dinner or drinks. By attending you will likely get the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with people who have been otherwise engaged during the event itself.
To get the most out of an event, it is helpful to continue to network afterwards. The easiest way to do this is to remember to connect on social networks such as LinkedIn with the people you interacted with at the conference. This way you will both have a method for getting back in touch and they can also find out more details about you.
Speak / Present
This takes networking a step further, but if you are really keen to get noticed then volunteering as a speaker or organiser of an event is a great way to do this. Your expertise will be on show to a captive audience, making it more likely people will approach you to talk and hopefully other attendees may even blog or tell their employers about you.
Help is at Hand
We understand that all of the above points can take up a lot of time and effort, which as a busy technology professional you likely don’t have in available in abundance. If you would prefer someone else to represent your brand on your behalf please feel free to get in touch. We are connected with a wide range of local technology employers and are always happy to promote you as part of your job search.