TL;DR – there is no right, or wrong way to attend the Summit. Decide on the things that are important to you, and what you want to get out of the days while you are there, and focus on those.
With the 2016 PASS Summit coming up in a few weeks there are lots of people giving some great advice on how to make the most of attending.
I’ve also seen people stating that if you aren’t doing a thing during Summit week then you are somehow doing things incorrectly.
My personal feelings around this particular piece of advice do not fit with this “doing it wrong” sentiment.
The initial tweet (which is something that has been repeated by various people over the years, along with variations on it) is not meant to be anything malicious. It is heartfelt advice from someone who honestly believes that the best way to get the most from the Summit is to be sure to get out and meet people once the day of structured learning is complete.
The difficulty is in the way that this message is being delivered. It can create anxiety for people who have a fear of missing out, which can lead to them doing things that they really do not want to do, or beating themselves up for not doing things that that all of a sudden think that they should be (as not doing so would be wrong).
Not going out at nights does not mean that you are doing things wrong. A person could have many reasons for not attending evening/night gatherings, including (but not limited to):
- Social anxiety
- General poor health
- Dietary restrictions
- Religious observations
- Spending time with family
Whatever your reasoning for possibly not going out at night, it’s ok. You don’t need to go anywhere, or see anyone if you do not want to. It is YOUR life, and YOUR judgement, not anybody elses.
This goes equally for any other aspect of the Summit. If people say you are wrong for not attending the Birds of a Feather lunch, or whatever Bob Ward sessions may be happening, don’t listen to them. Go to the things that are of interest to you, or further the agenda that you have set for yourself.
There are going to be a few thousand people at the Summit. Not everyone has the same goals while there. Some want to network and get to know people. Others want to just attend sessions, and not do anything else. Many want to do something in between the two. There’s no right or wrong way here.
My advice for you is to plan out your time as well as you can. Figure out what sessions you want to attend, and then build out the rest of your time from there. If that means that you take an hours break back at your hotel in the middle of the day, so that you can recoup your energy for the afternoon, that’s just fine. If it means that you want to spend time wandering through the exhibitors area instead of sitting through something you aren’t sure you want to see, that’s fine too.
There is no pressure to do anything you don’t want to do. If you want to push yourself all week, and try to do everything, that’s great as well.
As an attendee to the Summit you are not accountable to anyone for how you spend your time (either during the day, or in the evenings). Just be sure to take care of yourself, and be respectful to those around you who are doing the same. That’s the right way to do the Summit.