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Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Fall Conferences/Conventions

October 11th, 2017

When the calendar flips to fall, along with the shorter days and colder temperatures we see another change, the beginning of conference season. Now I realize that not all organization and associations host trade shows in the fall, but many do. No one wants to run into or interfere with summer Family vacations. So, a few weeks after Labor Day, many associations plan their annual or regional conferences and /or conventions. Whether you are an exhibitor or an attendee, here are some tips that may help you, not only weather the season, but get the most out of it:

  1. Have a meeting with your entire team prior to attending. This insures that everyone is on the same page. Identify why everyone is being asked to attend. I have been an exhibitor and asked someone why they were there and the response was “I dunno, they asked me if I wanted to go and I said sure.” This hardly seems like a good use of resources.
  2. Set your goals before you arrive on site. Talk about what you want to get out of attending the event. Is your goal strictly to meet people or is it to increase your business? Perhaps you're attending for the sole purpose of educating your team. Know the purpose of why you are going. Making sure to have some measurable goals in place may help you evaluate how beneficial the event was for you and your team.
  3. Schedule down time. Make sure to get plenty of rest beforehand and try and keep a reasonable schedule during the show. Oftentimes, these conferences drastically change our normal routine. We start early in the day and end late at night. If you are used to sticking to a set schedule, this may be difficult for you. Rest up beforehand and try to get some sleep during it.
  4. Drink lots of fluids, water especially. Hotels and convention centers rarely pump in fresh air and they tend to be very dry, so drinking a lot of water helps keep you going. Believe it or not it does make you feel better.
  5. Get out of the convention center if possible. Depending on the schedule you may have breaks during the day, so get out of the convention hall and walk around. Stretch your legs and get a little exercise in, it really does a world of good for you.
  6. Make smart food choices. Many of us struggle when we go to these things. If you usually make most of your food as opposed to eating out, these conferences can be a challenge. Food that you are served will most likely have higher amounts of fat, sugar, and sodium than you are used to - be mindful of that. If you are driving, pack healthy snacks to have with you while you are gone. Many hotels either have a refrigerator in the room or one is available upon request. This is especially important if you have health issues or dietary restrictions.
  7. Before you arrive on site, check out the area online. Learn about where you are going and check out the sights, transportation, shopping areas, food, and, of course, entertainment options. A little planning goes a long way.
  8. Get out and meet new people. One of the very best aspects of a large tradeshow or conference is the opportunity to meet new people from all over the place. You don’t grow as a person if you stick with the group that you went with. Often, when you go to a conference, especially if it is industry specific, you will meet people that are experiencing the same challenges that you are. Some of the connections that you make at these things will last a lifetime, even if the connection doesn’t last, the impact often does.
  9. Take part in as many aspects of the meeting/event that you can. Most of these types of events have a variety of components, such as educational, trade, networking, and social. Make sure to avail yourself to as many of these as possible, it makes for a well-rounded experience.
  10. Last, but not least, enjoy yourself. There should be an element of fun and enjoyment in everything we do, so enjoy yourself. Besides, nobody wants to interact with a Debbie Downer.

If you are going to a tradeshow or conference this Fall, have a FUN time and learn a lot.

Posted in the category FUN-tober.

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