Stuart Herbert has asked for some suggestions for the "conference virgin" to know about before heading (and/or speaking) at their first conference.
I'm speaking at the PHPNW '08 conference in November, and I've just been contacted for advice by someone understandably excited at going to her very first conference. Thing is, I've never been a conference newbie (I've always been either speaking or running a conference) so I'm not the best person to offer advice on this.
His suggestions include meeting up with friends also attending, keeping an eye out for social groups to be a part of and to bring a laptop along with you ("a lot of the conversation at the conference happens online"). The comments have some suggestions too like "don't eat alone" and "hang out in the hall if there's no talks that interested you. it's a great way to meet others."