Congratulations! By attending php[world], you are now a full-fledged member of the PHP community. My goal is to make that seem exciting instead of intimidating, especially if this is your first PHP conference (or perhaps even your first tech conference altogether!). But even if you’ve attended php[world] before, there is probably more you can get out of the conference and give back to the community. Maybe you’re an introvert or struggle with social anxiety, and fully engaging with the conference and fellow attendees has always seemed scary or physically exhausting. As an introvert with moderate social anxiety myself, I can relate.
But becoming involved in the PHP community has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, so I’m here to help you overcome these challenges. From navigating the talk schedule to deciding whether or not to attend the official and unofficial after-hours events, I’ll offer advice for how to get the most out of the conference based on what you’re hoping to take away. For the introverts in the audience, we’ll discuss how to build in breaks for quiet time so you can recharge and be at your best for the rest of the conference. For those struggling with social anxiety, we’ll coordinate groups to sit together at lunch and talk about other strategies to handle the evening socials so you can meet new people without overwhelming yourself. I’ll go over the speaker lineup and introduce you to some of the stalwarts of the PHP community, most of whom would be more than happy to talk to you one-on-one. In the process, I’ll mention several organizations (local, national and international) within the PHP community or adjacent to it that are worth knowing about and involvement in whom is a great way to keep in touch after the conference ends. We’ll also discuss the importance of giving feedback on the sessions you attend using joind.in and review best practices for how to write constructive comments. Finally, I’ll go over ways to become more involved in the community, such as contributing to open source, blogging, or speaking at meetups and conferences — and why the latter isn’t nearly as scary as you might think, even as an introvert with social anxiety.