WCUS 2022

It’s almost here – WCUS 2022. To say it’s taken awhile to get here is an understatement. Between all of the canceled plans of 2020, the “will we or won’t we” of the following years, and the careful COVID planning (that didn’t always work) at other conferences, it feels like a LONG time coming.

But it’s less than a week away!

What’s different this time around?

  1. WCUS is on the west coast! This time we’ll be in San Diego – where it’s warm. ☀ (The only jacket I’m bringing is for the plane.) So pack accordingly.
  2. There were fewer tickets this year. With only 650 tickets, you’re bound to see the same faces throughout the event more often. (This offers lots of opportunities…see below.)
  3. Half your face will be covered. And you have to show (in advance) that you’ve tested negative for COVID or have been vaccinated.
  4. It’s in a much smaller venue. (Those of us with mobility and other disabilities are rejoicing on this one!)

How to make the most of WCUS

Given the differences listed above, there are lots of opportunities to make new connections and deepen existing connections.

  1. Wear your mask as directed. Sanitize your hands as often as possible. We really do all want this to be the safest and healthiest experience for everyone. No matter what your beliefs are about the pandemic, vaccines, etc., WCUS is not the place to “get political” about it. Follow the guidelines. Do your part to make others comfortable.
  2. Fewer people doesn’t mean fewer opportunities – it means different opportunities. Shift your priorities from meeting as many people as possible to making better and deeper connections. How?
    • Sit next to people you don’t already know.
      • At meals: Introduce yourself to your tablemates. Learn about each other. Share experiences and tell WordPress stories.
      • In sessions: Chat with someone new before and after the speaker takes the stage.
    • Take pictures of other peoples’ badges to follow up later. I know that QR codes and links to personal sites and link trees are good – but will you really go through all of the tabs on your phone that you created later? A photo in your phone will be a prompt to connect with someone after the event. (And a pic of a person will jog your memory, too!)
    • Visit sponsor tables and take the swag. Sponsors spent a lot of money to be there (more than just the sponsorship fees) and they really want to meet you. So have a conversation about their products and services. Get to know the people behind the brand. And take the swag they’ve invested in. (Bonus points if you tweet it out and tag them in it – sponsors eat that up!)
    • Attend mixers and parties. This is a great place for networking. Whether it’s the official After Party or a WordPress company event, sitting down with people in a casual setting facilitates conversations and grows your network.
    • Follow others on Twitter and in other social channels.
    • Use the official #WCUS hashtag to be part of the online WCUS conversation. Tweet about sessions, events, the food – whatever you want!
    • Take the breaks you need. If you have tendencies toward being introverted or just need some down time – figure out where in the schedule you can step away for some quiet rest and solitude. Come back ready to jump in again.
    • Schedule out where you want to be and when. This goes for social events, session events, and 1:1 meetings you’ve set up. Set reminders on your phone so you don’t miss anything.

Briefly

Make the most of your attendance at WCUS. Meet people. Deepen connections. Learn as much as you can. Share as much as you are able.

Oh, and those masks? Think of it as license to eat all the onions and garlic you want. 😉

Michelle Frechette is the Director of Community Engagement at StellarWP. She is also the Podcast Barista at WPCoffeeTalk.com, cofounder of underrepresentedintech.com, creator of wpcareerpages.com, the president of the board for BigOrangeHeart.org, Director of Community Relations and contributor at PostStatus.com, author, business coach, and a frequent organizer and speaker at WordPress events. Michelle lives outside of Rochester, NY where she’s an avid nature photographer. You can learn more about Michelle at meetmichelle.online.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *