Best Practices for Attending an Industry Conference
Working a Trade Show is a Job
Last week I was in Charlotte, NC, today is Orlando, and tomorrow is Chicago. I have been speaking at a variety of industry trade shows delivering keynote programs, educational breakout sessions and general networking opportunities. As I am sitting in the lobby of this very nice hotel, I can view 15 or so people watching a soccer game, a few others are holding one on one meetings and other folks seemingly wondering the hallways, or even walking outside by the pool. Its 1:45pm. There are education breakout sessions going on and even an Exhibit Expo is open, why are so many people wasting this opportunity??? They have invested time and money to fly here and yet I see this at the 20 or so trade shows I attend each year.
There are plenty of reasons to believe that attending trade show or association event is fun and exciting because it is! However, to maximize your investment and opportunities you need to ‘work’ these events. Here are a few action items for you to do in preparing for, working and post action plans for working any event.
- Identify and know your top 4 business challenges and use the time to look for answers. In the breakout sessions, hallway conversations and at the bar.
- Plot your program strategy for your entire week, not on a day to day basis
- Plan to attend only 4 breakout sessions a day to avoid burn out
- Understand your transportation from the hotel to convention center. Use the shuttles between convention center and hotels and pack your daily bags accordingly
- At the end of each day do a daily recap of notes, thoughts and action lists
- Post trade show: create a priority List of actions, and then share it with your team and assign tasks, due dates, manage it!
- Within two weeks, review all the breakout presentation PPTs that you missed and review all the breakout materials from the sessions that you attended. Many events, post the PowerPoint’s on a central site.
- Contact the presenters for additional information and visit their websites for other information that maybe available.
Normally everyone does a Top Ten list. I got only to eight. what are your ideas to improve YOUR time at these very important events? Let me know.