Attending posit::conf for the first time?

posit::conf(2024) tips for first-time conf attendees

I’m excited to see so many people from the community at posit::conf(2024) this August in Seattle! I’ve spoken with a few people joining us in person for the first time, and I am happy to share some lessons learned over a few years of RStudio/Posit conferences.

We often say one of the best parts about the conference is the people that you meet. I can definitely attest to that, but I also acknowledge that building connections isn’t always easy!


A few tips to share for Seattle this year! →


First, let’s take a peek at the agenda:


Snapshot of the posit::conf(2024) agenda.

The Fundamentals
All things R & Python

In fact, all things open source data science, because our mission matters.

Whether you’re just starting your data science journey, a skilled professional, or a data science leader, posit::conf(2024) has it all, with four talk tracks, community events, updates on product enhancements, all-day workshops, and keynotes from your favorite data scientists.

9am - 5pm: Workshops
5:30pm: Welcome Reception

9am: Keynote
10:20am: Talks
11:40am: Lunch and networking
1pm: Talks
2:40pm: Talks
4:15pm: Keynote
7pm: Evening Event

9am: Keynote
10:20am: Talks
11:40am: Lunch and networking
1pm: Talks
2:40pm Talks
4:15pm Keynote


While networking is mentioned during lunch, there will be many opportunities to meet people from the community. Here are a few ways to connect with others and make the most of your conference experience!


Do some pre-conf “homework”


  • Join virtual events to connect with fellow attendees prior to the event. One option is the Data Science Hangout, which happens every Thursday from 12 to 1 ET. On June 6th, the Hangout will be dedicated to all things conf! Come with any questions and also meet other people in the chat who will be attending. There are many virtual spaces to meet people ahead of time! Another recommended one is the Data Science Learning Community Slack.
  • Post on LinkedIn that you’ll be attending. Perhaps include the workshop you’re doing, talks you’re excited about, what you’re hoping to do while in Seattle, etc. Using #positconf2024 in your post will make it easier for us all to connect.
  • Look at the schedule and connect on LinkedIn with a few of the speakers you’re excited to meet! 
  • Make a list for yourself of the top 5 talks you want to see. It’s hard to make it to everything, but at least you’ll know the specific ones you can’t miss!


When you’re at posit::conf(2024):

  • Introduce yourself and say hello to the people you’re sitting next to in a talk, or while you’re in line at the coffee shop, in the elevator, etc.
  • Check out Birds of a Feather events: these are opportunities for attendees with similar interests, backgrounds, and aspirations to network and connect. More information will be shared soon with details on the 2024 Birds of a Feather sessions.
  • Consider bringing something that serves as an icebreaker for conversation. This could be writing a blog about the conference, snapping photos, or even bringing along hex stickers for your own package to share with fellow attendees.
  • Stop by the Lounge, where you can meet members of the Posit team and view scheduled demos. Posit employees will be there during breaks and would love to introduce you to others from the community!
  • Acknowledge that social fatigue happens to everyone—even extroverts! It’s helpful to schedule a few breaks for yourself, take a walk, and step outside the venue occasionally to recharge.
  • Remember that all of the “people you meet” don’t have to be in person! During the conference, there’s a Discord where you can connect with others around common interests and ask questions.


What piece of advice would you share with someone attending posit::conf for the first time?


I asked the community on LinkedIn and loved seeing all the advice shared. I’ve included a few below, but definitely read the rest in this LinkedIn thread and/or share your own!


Message from Adam Austin: You're going to see a lot of your data heroes. Don't be afraid to talk to them! They're all amazing and kind people.

Message from Kristi Angel: Leave your FOMO in an alley somewhere and pace yourself!

Message from Laura Gast: Comfortable shoes and be ready to talk to people! Posit::conf is one of the friendliest programmers conferences I've ever been to; everyone is genuinely curious and excited and interested. Don't be afraid to just talk to people - your heroes, presenters, that random person at the coffee station - the vibe is 100% nice at this conference.

Message from Mike K Smith: There's a lot to take in. It can be overwhelming. You don't have to go to every session. Find some like-minded people and chat. Hallway conversations and lunchtime conversations can be really valuable for making connections.

Message from Kyle Grealis: If you can, stay at the hotel and try not to checkout the last day of the conference... stay that last night if you can! I was able to grab pizza with some new friends and it was so much fun. Also, don't be afraid to be geeked out :)


And if you’re speaking at posit::conf(2024): (…yay, you! 👏🏼)


Second message from Laura Gast:  Getting to know other presenters in the coaching sessions is great! You get to hear how other people put together their sessions, get the BTS to see how a session might have gone but went in a different direction, etc. Come prepared (including with questions about 'should I A or should I B'?) to the coaching sessions and you'll get SO much out of them.

Message from Meslissa Van Bussel: I second Laura Gast's comments! I also found that the coaching sessions were great for networking - you get to meet a ton of people before the conference and then you already know some friendly faces when you get there. 😊 Try to connect with some people from your sessions on social media before the conference and make plans to say hello! Also, it makes presenting a lot easier if you bring a clicker remote that can advance your slides for you (then you don't have to stand in front of your laptop).


We hope to meet you there!