I read a blog post on a blogger who is trying to get free food at think tank events. The person doesn’t reveal the name except “Panel Crasher.” The person was recently was let go from a nonprofit and is going to graduate school in the fall. The person is using the blog in three ways:
- To network to find an opportunity in the short-term.
- The D.C. panel subculture.
- Which think tanks have the best spread.
The “Panel Crasher” reminds me the one time I crashed a panel session. It was in 2010 when SHRM was holding their Leadership Conference in Crystal City. A day before, I had a conversation with Matthew Stollak over on Twitter that I wanted to attend the social media panel (which was a hot topic back then among HR professionals). Matthew said I can come by for the session.
The next day, I went to the hotel and went to the back entrances. I used to work at Crystal City, so I know the ins and outs of the place. I went to the social media panel and one of the SHRM reps asked me why you’re here. I told them I was invited by Matthew. we went around a few more times and then she backed away and I got to hear the session.
Would I want you to crash the party every time? No, that takes time and planning, but then again, you can mention that in your Linkedin profile under “skills.” I want you to be selective of who and where to go. Here are tips to properly crash the party:
1. Ask someone: Ask someone who is attending a session you want to attend and ask for an invite. They will let you in, but don’t cause a scene.
2. Check the attendee list: do not use the attendee list to steal someone’s identity. Look at the attendee list, see who is attending. If they can’t make the event, ask them to take their spot. Their contact info, if made public, is on Eventbrite or you could do a hard search.
3. Have a plan: Don’t crash the party for food or something else. If you want to crash, there has to be a reason. Look at relevant events, then look at who’s attending the events and their title at the organization. Talk to the people you want, then leave.
4. Happy Hour: Crashing the party is a hassle, go to a bar or restaurant. after the event, people go to bars and restaurants to take a load off. Talk to them before they start “unloading.”
Your economic situation might not be good, but you need to use the proper resources to get what you want. Don’t crash the party for the food or the people; crash it for the experience and the follow-up.