To continue my volunteer series since Comic Con season is among us, I am writing up some Do’s and Dont’s of Volunteering at a Comic Con. These are from experiences and opinions of mine, what I have done, and what I have seen. So whether you are a vet at volunteering or a first timer here are some Do’s and Dont’s that you can have in mind for the next convention you attend.
Most shifts are 4-6 hours depending on the show, sometime you may even get released early. Eat something before your shift, not to heavy but maybe a snack to give you some fuel hangry (angry and hungry) volunteers are not fun to be around let alone provide good customer service.
Arrive a few minutes early
Some shows require you to arrive early some even 30 minutes plus, because anything can change at the last minute. This allows time to check in, find the area you are assigned to. Get through crowds of traffic (people on the convention floor) and if something were to happen. Arriving early even gives you a few minutes to collect your thoughts, prep for you shift and best of yet talk to fellow nerds!
Store your belongings
When I do a shift I try not to take a lot with me, if I have bags of things I would rather leave them at a bag check in area. If there are no areas, maybe run out to your car before hand, hotel room leave with a friend something. If not sometimes, not all the times they have a place you can put your things. I always take my valuable put of my bag if I have to leave it such as my phone and wallet. This is also a reason why I like my messenger bags because my hands are free to work as well.
Know your stuff / Have your papers (confirmation papers)
Know where you are going, who you are talking to, and when and where to report. Although volunteering can be a fun great experience it makes everything run smoothly when people know there stuff, not only on the volunteer side but manager wise as well. Usually the first check in most shows will say bring your confirmation papers for check in or a liability form signed with you. Make sure you follow through for a smooth process. If you know where you are going and who you are to report to the time of volunteering will be a breeze!
This is one of the most important things, be nice, courteous and kind those are not just words from the movie Cinderella. You are providing a customer service for the said convention,you are at the time of your shift representing the convention, so no pressure. If someone comes to you help them, be kind you being nice can maybe make there day better,or even be one of the best things about the convention. If you don’t know the answer, find the answer or someone who does.
Do said job
Yes it is so easy to get distracted with all that is going on at a show, but try to stay focused and do whatever task you were assigned. Sometimes your job may seem like it is not doing anything or being productive, but they would not have those if it did not help the said show. Put all you got into your shift, you are getting good things from the said show whether it is free swag or a day pass, the least you can do is dedicate your time all the way.
One of the best things about going to a show, you are helping put on the show by volunteering. Although it may not seem like it you are. It takes a lot to put on shows and they love the help of their volunteers which is why they treat them good. Talk to fellow nerds, communicate, engage, and have fun. You decide how your shift is going to go, be happy you are there, you saved a few dollars, by volunteering and have an experience not everyone gets or has choose to have yet.
Don’t be rude!
Be nice, I have come across some volunteers that have been rude and/or seem like they are only there for a free pass. I was pretty close to saying something to the convention staff as it kinda ruined my time at the event I was doing. Something as small as that can be huge! As people say negative thoughts & stories on customer service, travel faster and more than those of positivity. It takes a few minutes to switch gears when someone is rude to you at one of your favorite events when you are excited.
Don’t be late!
Don’t show up 5 minutes late, or even more then the time you are suppose to start your shift. People show up when they please and think the convention runs around them, the staff at said conventions already try to work with people schedule and there is a boundary when taking advantage is not nice. On top of all that shows are run minute by minute and everything has been set to a time for a reason. A volunteer showing up before/ on time is better than having to halt production and wait for a late volunteer. Yes I know things happen but try your best to make it on time, if all else let the manager or supervisor know.
Don’t be distracted
Stay focused, talking to fellow nerds fine, but you have a duty, don’t show up then go wonder around and come back when your shift is done. I have seen it done and think it’s a bit unfair and rude. Dedicate your time all the way, engage and provide customer service to fellow attendees. It may be hard to believe but it has been done.
Don’t Be on your phone the whole time
This also includes playing on the cell phone, its hard to approach people with their heads in their phone because to me it gives off the signal of I am busy and not interested. There are so many things to take pictures of, or snapping a quick pic of what you are doing etc. However, there are the ones that sir or stand and have their head in the phone the whole time, whether they are on social media, playing games, or doing whatever. Just be mindful of how long and when you are on your phone during your shift.Some of these are common sense yes, but I have seen at times they are forgotten and/or have experienced it myself such as rude volunteers that ruined the moment I was the most excited about. Have fun at the shows, and be happy for the experience because they are awesome.
Which are some Do’s and Dont’s you have? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter