Quirk’s Chicago was last week, and it was the first time I attended and/or presented at one of the Quirk’s events. I was surprised by this
Quirk’s Chicago was faster-paced compared to other conferences I’ve attended. There were 5 tracks constantly going on that attendees could drop in on. I found it tough sometimes choosing which session to attend. There was everything from qualitative and quantitative, to insights, to research-on-research and best practices, all with tons of opportunities to learn something new. I attended 8 sessions the first day, and the structure was outstanding. It was typically a 20-minute presentation followed by questions and answers.
The layout of the conference really helped facilitate the fast-paced atmosphere. The vendor booths were intentionally located at the center of attention at Quirk’s as the sessions were spread throughout the exterior with the vendor hall being in the center. If you’re going from one room to another, you had to go through the exhibit area. I enjoyed it as that is where many people were networking and meeting new companies. One could spend an entire day just in the exhibit hall – full of traditional and non-traditional market research companies.
The content at Quirk’s was fantastic! The presentations I witnessed were outstanding – from firms collaborating with end-clients, best practices, and case studies, the overall content was amazing. Attendees could learn something by attending the short, efficient sessions. Also, since there were 5 tracks going on at any time, you could customize your agenda to the sessions you really wanted to attend.
There seemed to be tons of opportunities to network while at Quirk’s. From the WIRe event, the happy hour at the expo hall, the amazing musical jam session (seriously, you must attend this if you have the chance), to the Research Club “After Dark” event, the action was non-stop for 2+ days.
As I mentioned at the beginning, not only was this the first time I attended a Quirk’s event, it was also the first time I presented at one. I presented with a colleague on Day 2 of the conference. We had a packed house for our session. But what was really great was that most of the attendees were fully engaged. It was great as a presenter to get that non-verbal feedback from attendees letting you know that they like what you are talking about. After our presentation, we had tons of questions from attendees – in fact, I looked at one point and I had a line of people wanting to ask me questions and so did my colleague.
I would recommend any researcher to attend a Quirk’s conference as it’s well put together, a great size, and amazing content.