Do’s and Don’ts at SXSW

For first time visitors to SXSW, the sheer size of the event can be disorienting at times, and with so much to see and do, it requires a special mindset to make the most of it. Here are a few tips that should help.

Have a plan
Draw up a schedule of the events, talks and panels you want to ­attend, but don’t forget to leave time for networking. This could be the most valuable lesson of all.

Be afraid to rip up your plan
Some of the best things happen when you least expect it. “Some of the most valuable conversations I’ve had have happened in bathrooms or waiting in queues,” SXSW Director Hugh Forrest says.

Get a map
Austin is a smallish city and quite easy to navigate under ­normal ­circumstances. During SXSW, however, things can be very different and extremely time-consuming getting around without a good map.

Be afraid to ask if you’re lost
For similar reasons, a wrong turn or lost time can mean missing a life-changing event or meeting. The city is full of friendly, helpful volunteers and event ­participants. 

Download the official app
Before you travel to Austin, make sure you get hold of the SXSW Go App. Not only do you get updates on all speakers, events and schedules, you can also sync it to your phone so you can stay on top of your ­business while you’re there. 

Forget to explore austin
You may be there for business, but to miss out on the weird and wonderful things going on in and around the city limits is almost criminal. Try the local food specialties too – don’t leave without sampling a typical ­Austin BBQ!

Be clear on your goals for the event
What do you actually want to get out of the festival? Funding? Networking? Launching a brand or product? Be clear on your goals and focus your agenda to match them. 

Forget your business cards
You will talk to hundreds of people, some you may never need or hear from again, others who may change your life. Make sure you don’t forget them and they don’t forget you.

Sort out your registration and badges early
The sooner you get the admin and goodie bag sorted, the better. The queues are shorter and you have time to enjoy yourself doing something better.

Absolutely DO
Visit the House of Scandinavia. You won’t find better value for breakfast in the city and you’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of entertaining and enlightening things going on. And, it’s a perfect place to meet others for business or pleasure.

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