Be prepared, the motto of all good Boy Scouts and a good rule for all of us to follow. Fall, in my world, is a time for conferences and lots of them. We have already participated in several (yes this should have been out weeks ago) but it is never too late for some advice from a sage and old conference attendee… yep, you guessed it, Me.
Here are just a few tips that I have picked up over the years from both attending and exhibiting at these types of shows:
- Before you go – Make sure to get some extra rest – conferences tend to operate on a different schedule for most folks than their daily, normal routines.
- Be careful what you pack – make sure that you have comfortable shoes that are up to the challenge of you being on your feet and doing a lot of walking; bringing 2 pairs isn’t a bad idea. Pack clothes that are comfortable and versatile enough to take you from conference attendance to dinner. If you are going to work out bring those clothes as well. Make sure to pack any prescriptions that you need or dietary supplements.
- If you are flying – print or download boarding passes ahead of time. There is nothing worse than arriving at the airport without the boarding pass with almost no time to get through TSA and seeing people 6deep waiting for a kiosk.
- Do some research on the venue and the hotel you will be staying at – Find out about things like WiFi and fitness centers. Some hotel chains offer free WiFi only if you join their rewards program. Find out what food options are available both on the property and close by. This is especially important if you have dietary restrictions or concerns. Figure out if you need a car and if they have transportation to and from the airport. If you are traveling in an oversized vehicle, like a Bus or 15 Passenger Van, make sure they have parking available.
- When you are going to a show with the possibility of purchasing something, whether it is a hard good (camera or computer) or services, check with your team first. Make sure that you are all in agreement about the needs of the group or the organization, the budget, the schedule and the technical needs and requirements. Often times you can save on “Show Specials”.
- Look at the schedule beforehand and evaluate any speakers or educational sessions that are being offered. Decide which ones would be both appropriate and useful for your group / organization. If they will be beneficial make sure that you or a member of your group can attend the presentation(s).
- When you are there – Don’t stick to your own group, get out and meet and mingle with other attendees. You can learn a lot from getting to know vendors and delegates from other groups and organizations. This will afford you the opportunity to get new ideas, learn about industry trends, and establish connections with similar groups or companies and share best practices. Use meal times to exchange ideas with your team, solidify relationships or simply relax and have fun.
Whether you are attending or exhibiting at a tradeshow they are an expensive undertaking. Make sure that you get the most out of the experience. You should enjoy yourself, but also make sure that you and your group, business, college or organization benefit from you being there.
If you need some help or guidance please just give us a call or shoot us an e-mail we are happy to discuss how we can make your experience even better. Fun Enterprises, Inc. 781-436-3187 or Ken@funent.com