Bite Size Conference Travel Tips
In the words of Forest Gump – “life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.” The same can be said when it comes to being an exhibitor and sponsor at industry conferences. Will your preparation be sufficient? Will it be worth the investment? Will you gain leads? Will attendees be nice and acknowledge your existence? Will our information be well received? My co-worker and I just attended the NCMPR conference in Pensacola, Florida and I can unequivocally say my answer is yes to each of those questions.
This was our first time attending the NCMPR conference and it being in Florida was a real plus. Would’ve been even better if we were escaping the cool Fall weather of GA to go to sunny FL. This weather has been crazy. Nevertheless, it was great to get away, even if it was for work.
Speaking of traveling for work, take into consideration the following bits of wisdom for a successful business trip:
“Stay at the Ready”
One should always be cognizant of your surroundings once you’ve arrived at your destination. You are there to do a job and be a representative of your company. You never know who you might meet in the lobby, at breakfast, lunch, dinner, on the beach, or even in the elevator, etc. Conference attendees can be anywhere. I say that because, the night before the conference, I was in the elevator at the hotel when two ladies were talking about doing graphic design “in house.” I interjected and asked if they were there for the conference and lo and behold one was a client we had been hoping to meet, the other, Executive Director of the conference. See, in our business, you may not ever meet the people face to face. You will talk to them on the phone or through conference calls, so that was a very nice chance meeting.
“Details, details, details!”
Work with the conference organizer and hotel contact to make sure you have all the necessary details to make your part of the event a success. Unlike being an attendee, conferences are not an event in which you just show up if you are an exhibitor or sponsor. Much preparation and thought happens behind the scenes. Many decisions need to be made from how you will present your company to potential clients to type of giveaway items and the graphic design, not to mention your presentation if speaking. Each of my team members were part of process in helping to make us look good. It’s kind of like preparing a Thanksgiving dinner. It takes hours of prep for a few minutes of success. But oh how it’s worth it.
“Success is when preparedness meets opportunity”
We took the opportunity to be a sponsor of the welcome reception to kick off the conference. One of the many decisions we made beforehand was how could we make the presentation engaging? We found out ahead of time that the reception was going to be outside near the pool area. We knew this would make for a very relaxed and inviting environment and decided to make our presentation interactive in order to have a little fun with the crowd. We played a quick, jeopardy style game with interesting statistics pertaining to the industry to peak their interest. Mission accomplished. Our preparation paid off.
“The proof is in the pudding.”
The crescendo of preparedness culminates on exhibit day. Put your preparedness and readiness to work by attaining leads and contacts for future business. Don’t forget to network with other exhibitors as well. You never know who you could team up with on a project or simply get/give a referral.
Good luck at your next event!
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