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Crashing conferences for networking
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Thomas the Rhymer Offline
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Post: #1
Crashing conferences for networking
I'm thinking of crashing conferences for networking.

A friend of mine once got himself into a big international conference by using his brother's ID tag.

I myself managed once to get myself in for free at a huge medical conference in a luxurious resort, almost by accident. At that time I wasn't into networking so it was a bit of a wasted opportunity.

My feelings on sneaking into conferences are the following :
- Dress well, just above par with most of the delegates. You don't want to look too important, you don't want to look like a slob either. Alternatively, dress uber-well as if you're a conference organiser. Walk slowly, confidently.
- Have something hanging around your neck, like an id card or something.
- Initially, a crowd of people at the conference entrance queue up to get their cards and tags. Either try to get in with the crowd, or wait for the crowd to disperse and security to become lax, then walk in through the front door as if you had just momentarily stepped out (then's how I managed it). Alternatively, find a back entrance.
- Hustle a tag. Keep it to make fake tags for future conferences. Although I noticed that once I was in, no one cared whether I had a conference tag or not.
- Have a bumbling idiot story ready if you are caught (unlikely, since no one checks on the people once you're inside). Say you just bumbled in, got handed a tag, and just hung around because everyone seemed so nice. At worst, you'll be escorted off the premises.
- Don't do anything stupid, don't be nervous (you're not doing anything profoundly immoral, you're just a friendly, charming guy meeting people).

Alternatively, simply contact and make friends with the organiser, and let him not only get you in for free, but let him introduce you to contacts.

The only info I found on this sort of thing :

There are some great comments below the article.

Has anyone on this forum perfected the art of sneaking into a conference?
03-26-2012 07:30 AM
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46. Offline

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Post: #2
RE: Crashing conferences for networking
Oh man, where to start. I do this all the time- and not just conferences. (MTV functions, Olympics stuff, Pres Inauguration parties) It's like Game- you want something you're not immediately allowed to have... so what do you do?

The article had good tips...I especially agree with the volunteering one. Once you're in as volunteer with your credentials, just leave.

And your tips are great. I'd especially underscore the dressing part; you have to look like you can't be questioned, so its no risk to not ask me to turn my fake badge around. In fact, I want the guard a little intimidated to ask me to turn my badge around.

A couple other things to add; you will get busted/denied doing this enough, so learn to find alternative entrances. Not all entrances are guarded equally; the main one's the toughest, then others like side entrances and the like. Most hotel ballrooms/facilities are set up the same way, so learn your way through the back and even kitchen entrances if you have to. You can do it if you act like you belong.
[Image: NA_Ballroom_Cherry_lg.gif]

And then the split level conference is your friend...instead of trying to get in on level 1 like everyone else, go to level 4 instead.

To walk in somewhere you haven't paid to be or weren't invited to go, just look for all of the barriers and "cues," that aren't really barriers...and ignore them. Things little little fences and ropes. Exhibitors have to bring stuff in from somewhere, find out where that is... then waltz in.

If you're there to network, tell people you crashed the conference. It will definitely differentiate you as people are there meeting dozens of other people. You'll stand out.

Finally- this is important! If you get rejected on your way in by some annoying volunteer guard who seems TOO happy to not let you in, make sure you give them the finger as you're walking out.
(This post was last modified: 03-26-2012 11:12 AM by 46..)
03-26-2012 10:59 AM
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Vicious Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Crashing conferences for networking
I've done this a ton of times at fairs. I invested heavily in social engineering way before I got real good at game.

One of my fave tricks is to find a lone security guard that's still fairly busy. Walk right up and say that you forgot your badge when you walked out to the car and ask him to escort you to your stand (in the opposite end of the hall)

If you plan ahead to it's super easy just mailing a company (not a major one, their invites always disappear fast) that's putting something up, ask a couple of niche questions and say that you'd love to visit their stand at XXX conference. They'll send you an invite fast.
03-26-2012 11:10 AM
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Basil Ransom Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Crashing conferences for networking
I haven't done this with conferences per se, but the most important part is acting like you belong there. Never stop to ask questions or otherwise express hesitation about entering. Your mindset is that you are perfectly entitled to enter for free even when others have paid hundreds for that privilege. Still have an alibi though.

Also with conferences, you may want to come well after it has begun, say during a break between speakers. There may be a sign in table that you just walk right past, and because the conference has been going on and because you didn't stop, they'll probably just assume you were already in there. Wear clothing that's unremarkable, relative to what others are wearing. You may want to ditch the pocket squares.

Also, I imagine the less mainstream appeal it has, the less paranoid the security. Something like E3 is going to be way harder than say, a medical devices convention.
03-26-2012 11:12 AM
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babelfish669 Offline

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Post: #5
RE: Crashing conferences for networking
I'm surprised by how many people don't go to conferences. I think in the 12 months after the first one I attended, my income tripled. People say the tiniest things that they will never say on the phone. And companies always send their hottest girls.

If you know anyone at a conference, borrowing a badge is easy. Unless your at a booth, your going to be on the show floor a few hours tops.
03-26-2012 02:11 PM
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DecoHappy Offline

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Post: #6
RE: Crashing conferences for networking
I ran a variation on this last week.

The model I met who was working the convention (as an usher) was being paid chump change.

I told her she was coming with me to the luncheon the second day. I walked in late, with her on my arm. The conference sponsors looked puzzled ("Haven't I seen her somewhere else?") but said nothing. I took her to the front of the banquet hall and seated her at a table directly in front of the speaker. Enjoyed my lunch and made small talk with the other guys at the table, while they drooled over her.

Later, the vendors had an open bar in the expo area. I waited until the initial surge had died down, then walked in with her on my arm. Same puzzled looks from the sponsors, then shrugs and distraction.

Showed up at the awards banquet that night with her on my arm. Late, but not too late for dinner. Same scenario, third round.

After dinner and plenty of free drinks, I told her she was coimg with me to my room. I ignored her protests about, "I'm supposed to meet my boyfriend in half an hour!" and walked towards my room. She followed along a few paces behind me and...
(This post was last modified: 03-26-2012 09:08 PM by DecoHappy.)
03-26-2012 09:06 PM
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babelfish669 Offline

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Post: #7
RE: Crashing conferences for networking
Yeah good one. You've got girls at shows that are sick of all the boring dudes, they might not even be local and all would rather be doing something fun and exciting.
03-26-2012 09:39 PM
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Brian Offline

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Post: #8
RE: Crashing conferences for networking
also, if you are walking past guards put a phone up to your ear and pretend like you are on a call. most dont give a shit enough to interupt you.
03-27-2012 11:09 PM
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Hypno Offline

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Post: #9
RE: Crashing conferences for networking
I think this is an interesting idea.

lately I see folks at conferences with badges that have a rope (like a shoe lace) that hangs around their neck, instead of the clip on name tags. Sometimes the strings are color coded. You could probably buy a set of blanks at an office supply store for $10. From far away, no one would stop you, especially if you dressed appropriately and had body language like you belonged there.

Often times there is a 5 minute break between presentations when everyone makes a beeline for the restroom. You could probably mix into the pack of people returning from the restroom.

From a gaming perspective, I would think HR and public relations conferences would be target rich. You could attend and say you were an entrepreneur and while you'll be hiring permanently for for this position in 6 months for your start up, right now you are just trying to stay on top of current developments.

here is a somewhat related clip, where a guy pretends he won an Oscar and crashes some parties, among other things. The guy is a comedian or something, I mean there are several reasons why this shouldn't have worked, but it did. He was doing it for fun, he calls it a prank. It probably worked because the guy had the internal state that he gave no fucks, because he was clowning. I think its that internal state - confidence, body language - that is key to pulling these things off. Of course, sneaking into a convention should be a lot easier.

03-29-2017 12:45 PM
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Easy_C Offline

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Post: #10
RE: Crashing conferences for networking
(This post was last modified: 03-29-2017 02:32 PM by Easy_C.)
03-29-2017 02:26 PM
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