Conferences and expos are a-buzz with energy and often feel like mountain-top experiences. The frequent reality is that coming down from that mountain can result in a lot of nothing. You have spent time and resources on attending and networking, but how is it helping your business? I do not have all of the answers, but I do have a few strategies that work for me.
5 Steps That Help ROI When Working An Expo
- Plan Ahead – Depending on the conference or expo you’re attending, you could easily be meeting hundreds of people. While that quantity is impressive, I certainly argue that quality connections are more valuable. Our CEO Bill and I got to have dinner with a team from Pfeiffer Publishing. We worked with Pfeiffer to publish our Courageous Leadership Facilitator’s Guide. After countless hours logged in conference calls and email conversations, it was great to spend face-to-face time. In addition to getting to know each other more, we got to do some great brainstorming on future projects, which we look forward to announcing one day. Plan ahead and identify some people who are attending, speaking, or exhibiting with whom you really want to connect. Reach out to them before the event and line up a coffee or dinner. We all go to these events to forward our business, so lets spend some time forwarding our business.
- Warm Up Your Pitch – Now is the time to sound aware, of who you are, what your organization does, and the benefit you provide. The Giant Leap team was focused on introducing more people to Courageous Leadership, and a fly on my hotel room wall would have heard me explaining why I think this is a powerful resource. It is easy to get tongue tied in these settings, but if you have spent time practicing your pitch you will be equipped to recover. You are at this event to pitch yourself or your product; therefore your pitch deserves some attention.
- Listen To The People You Meet – You have worked on your pitch, but do not become an automaton that repeats it verbatim to everyone you meet. Ask questions of the people standing in front of you. Why are they at the conference? What are their needs and interests? Based on what you learn, you can engage in a more authentic conversation about their needs and your services. A real conversation can leave its mark; so don’t just rush off to the next thing. Show your interest in the person you are with by listening.
- Open The Door For Others – When displaying at an expo, we have found the organizers will often allow us to invite a few guests. We know Giant Leap cannot solve every client or partner problem, so we use these special guest passes as a way to help clients and partners learn about other resources available in the training world – from assessment to technology advancements and everything in between. Conferences can be expensive so when we can provide complimentary access, we like to open the door for others.
- It’s A Long Day, Pack Accordingly – Let’s get practical. Whether you are doing booth duty for the day or attending the training sessions, it is going to be a long day. Pack wisely. Even the most comfortable high heel gets tight after 10 hours. My tip, gel inserts. Whether its heels or flats I am rocking, these inserts keep me comfortably on my toes so that I can make the most of every conversation I have.
There you are. Some of my tips for making of the most of any conference or expo you attend. Do you have any other tips that work for you? Would love to read them in the comments.
Photo Credit: John