A BarCamp can be a very confusing place for someone who has never attended before, as it takes the standard formula for a conference, and pretty much turns it upside down. The lack of structure and organisation for the event on the day can be quite daunting, but I promise you that it works.
So if you’re contemplating attending your first BarCamp, why not gain some confidence first by getting acquainted with the rules;
1st Rule: You do talk about BarCamp. BarCamp’s are special events, that those of us who have attended understand, but to people who have never been before they can be a very strange concept to grasp. Because of this, we need people who know how amazing a BarCamp is to tell everyone else they know, tweet about it, post on Facebook, and help us spread the word.
2nd Rule: You do blog about BarCamp. See above, the more exposure a BarCamp can get, the better it will become. Plus, we always love to get feedback after the event and read about your experiences.
3rd Rule: If you want to present, you must write your topic and name in a presentation slot
4th Rule: Only three word intros – ok, so maybe this should be more of a guideline, but you only have a small card to write your talk on, so having a short snappy title would be advantageous.
5th Rule: As many presentations at a time as facilities allow for – maybe more, if you can find a quiet corner somewhere…..
6th Rule: No pre-scheduled presentations, no tourists – the organisers will not agree to reserve talk slots for anyone prior to the event, and if you’re coming to present, we expect you to stay for the rest of the day and participate in other people’s talks as well
7th Rule: Presentations will go on as long as they have to or until they run into another presentation slot – Our slots will be 30 minutes each, so 20 minute talks work well as you still have time for questions
8th Rule: If this is your first time at BarCamp, you HAVE to present – Ok, you don’t really HAVE to, but try to find someone to present with, or at least ask questions and be an interactive participant
9th Rule: The rule of two feet – If you find yourself in a talk that wasn’t what you thought it would be, get up and leave. No one will be offended, and you will often see people wandering in and out of rooms mid presentation. Just try not to disturb anyone as you do it.
10th Rule: Have fun! – If you’re not, you’re doing it wrong 😉