With UK Party Conference season over, our thoughts turn to the fast-approaching Scottish events. With a little help from our twitter friends, we've put together some top tips for getting through a party conference... or three!
DO… book your accommodation/dinner spots/taxis to the station early, especially if it is not in Edinburgh/Glasgow.
DO… Check out the agenda before you arrive, thus making sure you don’t miss any key early events, or forfeit a lie-in for a session you have zero interest in.
DO… Read the fringe schedule carefully, never go for “refreshments provided” when you could have “lunch and refreshments” provided, or "lunch and wine" provided.
DO… Charge your devices/pack a charger.
DO… Always make sure you take some sort of snack (cereal bars are good) in case you get to a fringe too late for the buffet.
DON’T… Assume there will be enough food/refreshments provided for everyone who wants it, or that you won’t get shoved out of the way in the food queue - some members can have tunnel vision when it comes to a buffet.
DO… Bring your own lanyard for your pass unless you want to be sporting party memorabilia for the duration. Be careful though, some events insist you sport the standard issue.
DO… Dress appropriately for any kind of weather/heating system and lack thereof. It could be freezing or it could be sweltering. Your fringe venue could be a sprint in the rain away or in a poorly ventilated box. Layer up if you can, and always, but always, bring a bottle of water with you.
Once you are there….
DO… Make sure you grab a copy of the daily conference papers so you’re not confused when things suddenly go off-agenda or move to topical/emergency resolutions.
DO… Take the opportunity to get up close and personal with your elected representatives. Rarely will you have access to such a number of them (party dependent!) in such a small space. Chances are you’ll be beside some of them at a meeting/in the bar.
DON’T… Take your fandom too far – networking at a fringe meeting probably isn’t the time for autograph or selfie hunting.
DO… Make sure you drink some water/never do without dinner, the night is almost guaranteed to go on a little later than you’d expected.
DON’T… Overindulge at the pre-conference social. Or any other night. Debating or reporting on motions with a hangover isn't fun.
DO… Have your pens/pass/business cards to hand i.e. not in the bottom of a massive bag full of agendas and fringe flyers.
DO… Sit near the door – speedy access to the exit and popular fringe meetings.
DO… Try and go outside on any breaks – weather permitting!
DON’T… Forget about life beyond party politics - Remember once or twice over the course of the conference to acknowledge your life outside of it by, say, replying to your loved ones’ texts.
DO… Watch where you sit. If you’re media, probably best if you don’t get caught up among the party faithful. And wherever you sit, bear in mind a TV camera could catch you chuckling/yawning/avidly listening.
DON’T… Feel you have to join in with any applause or ovations but if you’re “observing” definitely keep your heckles to yourself.
On your way home….
DON’T… Slag off any politicians or industry types on the journey back, chances are they are on your train/sitting right behind you.
DON'T... Forget to take off your conference lanyard - nobody really wants to wear it all the way home... do they?
To sum up...
Treat it as one would a major hiking expedition: make sure you know where you're going, take plenty of food and water and whatever you do, don't wander off the beaten path (into dubious fringe meetings or nights out which will end badly).
What are your top tips for Party Conference Season? Tweet us @newsdirect and let us know.
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