Just as last year, the annual HCT conference was held at Dubai Men's College. Because it's on a Saturday, they usually give us an extra day off for the first Eid . As this was my second such conference, I picked up a few hints for how to have a successful day.
1) Get there during the reception to get the croissants and coffee. I arrived a little late and didn't get a croissant. Hide your coffee if you go into the main auditorium. They'll make you drink it in the doorway if they see it.
2) Don't be in a hurry to get into the main auditorium for the main speech. It is sure to fill up and then you can go to one of the overflow rooms and watch a video of the speaker while you drink your coffee, eat your croissant, and do your sudoku.
3) If you end up in the main auditorium (you'll have to sit there if it's your first year) don't fall asleep. There are cameramen walking around videoing the audience for promotional purposes. You don't want evidence of you not paying attention.
4) If you like laser light shows sit in the auditorium. There was one last year, but not this year. Maybe there was. It might have been while I was in the overflow room or sleeping.
5) Get to lunch quickly to get a seat. Run if you have to. This is much easier if you are in the overflow room which is closer to the lunch room.
6) Wear a jacket. This is especially important if it is your first year because you have the opportunity to shake the Chancellor's hand. If you forget to wear one, just say you left it in the car because you spilled coffee on it.
7) During the Question and Answer portion of the meeting, ask a question that is a veiled compliment. Everyone likes a team player.
8) When signing up for the various sessions, check that your name isn't on one of them for you to present. This actually happened to a co-worker of mine this year.
9) Grab an extra soda from lunch for the ride home. Go on, you deserve it.
Overall, the meetings themselves were mildly interesting and they give us lunch and coffee, so it's actually worthwhile. While I know that I'm not the first person to have to work six days in a row, I still am not looking forward to a full week of a mystery schedule.