Over on GigaOm’s Web Worker Daily, Dawn Foster talks about her decision to sometimes follow the “hallway track” at conferences.
For the n00bs, conferences are sometimes broken down into “tracks” - these are different sets of simultaneous panels, talks or workshops that can be set up using a variety of criteria.
Some of those criteria can be based on subject matter (e.g. Technology track, Business track, Legal track, etc.). Other times, they can set up based on format (e.g. Talks, Panels, Workshops, etc.). The segmentation is completely up to the conference producer.
This allows the producer to serve the interests of a variety of attendees. It also provides the producer with more speaking slots - enabling them to invite more notable speakers - while providing them with more sponsorship opportunities. (e.g.”The Technology Track is sponsored by Google“).
Tracks can also be a frustrating experience since you may want to attend two different sessions that occur at the same time. C’est la vie.
No matter what conference you attend, you can always opt for what Dawn calls The Hallway Track. These are the impromptu discussions that occur between - or even during - scheduled sessions with some of the many interesting people whom you are bound to meet as you move from session to session.
Take advantage of these opportunities. One key benefit of a conference is that it brings people together from throughout your industry for a short, intense period of time and is a great way to spark and nurture relationships.