1. The coffee is always tepid and bad, but you will end up drinking at least 19 cups of it anyway.
2. As a result, every talk is more an exercise in bladder control than in paying attention.
3. The person next to you in a talk will never stop fidgeting.
4. Half of the audience always shows up half of the way through the talk.
5. The WiFi NEVER works.
6. When the WiFi fails, it always fails just as a presenter is about to use it.
7. All of the rooms are inexplicably freezing …
8. … or else they are swelteringly hot. Never in between.
9. You will get strangely used to the unique and jarring sound of microphone feedback.
10. Someone will ask a “question” that takes five minutes.
11. Someone will ask a “question” that is actually just a rambling statement about themselves.
12. Someone will ask a “question” that makes literally no sense whatsoever.
13. There are never enough plugs.
14. In fact, you will almost certainly get in a fight with someone about plug real estate.
15. Half the presenters will think that a presentation actually means reading to you off their slides like it’s storytime.
16. At least one presenter will think it’s hilarious to wear a costume.
17. There will be snacks …
18. … but the only snacks left when you get to them will be the world’s driest crackers.
19. You will show up at the wrong presentation and have to stick it out because you’re too embarrassed to leave.
20. You will have conversations with some really interesting people!
21. But you will spend at least half of those conversations awkwardly trying to catch their name and where they work from their name tag …
22. … which is inevitably flipped the wrong way so you end up just staring at their chests.
23. A presenter will spend 10 minutes looking for a slide that definitely didn’t make it into the final version of her talk.
24. A presenter will just read off their notes the whole time without making eye contact.
25. A presenter will make a joke that no one laughs at and then make a joke about how no one is laughing and you will want. to. die.
26. Someone will give a presentation that has literally nothing to do with the title or the description of their talk.
27. There will always be one slide in a talk that is impossible to read.
28. There will always be one talk that seems to be made up entirely of slides with cat gifs on them.
29. There will always be at least one talk that goes WAY past its allotted time slot.
30. There will be at least one speaker who surprises you with how great they are.
31. And at least one speaker who doesn’t even bother to show up.
32. Despite all of this, you will end up learning at least one thing that changes the way you think.
33. But even if that doesn’t happen, you will spend most of the time with a smile on your face, because … at least you’re not at work.