How many times have you attended a big trade show or users group meeting and came away thinking, “I didn’t get as much out of that as I intended”?
It’s a common problem, because it’s so easy to do.
You may have certain vendors you want to talk with, specific people you want to network with, and possibly even some bucket list things you want to see or do in the city where the meeting is held. But then you get sucked into running from session to session, caught in conversations that aren’t specific to your goals, and you run out of time. Then, you’re frustrated. I know, because it’s happened to me.
So as we approach Sage Summit 2015, let’s take a look at how you can make the most of this opportunity.
The key, I’ve found is to begin with the end in mind.
You’ll probably be extremely busy leading up to the day you depart for New Orleans, but take a few minutes to plan ahead, and you’ll have better results. Here are a few key things to do:
- Review the sessions you want to attend and make a plan for attending. Consider not just subject matter, but also people you want to meet
. Are there speakers who could answer questions for you, even if they’re speaking on a different topic? Or will there be attendees you could compare experiences with? Or, if you’re looking to further your career, people you want to network with for your next great position? If you’re interested in conflicting sessions, maybe you can arrange with a colleague to meet after the session and exchange notes.
- Set up meetings in advance, and exchange cell phone numbers so you can reach each other to reschedule. It’s a great idea to plan ahead and set up meetings so you can connect with colleagues you really want to talk with. But of course, things happen—you end up running late and then if you only have an office number, you may be out of luck. It’s best to remain flexible and have a cell number so you can adjust meeting times rather than missing a meeting you really wanted to have.
- Plan out your Exhibit Hall strategy. Too often we’ll wander into the Exhibit Hall with the intent of visiting all the booths, and then we run out of time, energy, or both—and don’t meet with the vendors we truly wanted to see. To avoid this problem, review the Exhibit Hall map before you step foot in the exhibits and mark the booths as “Must see”, “Want to see” and “Maybe.” For the “Must see” exhibits, you may want to schedule a time with the vendor to insure you will be able to talk to the people you need to see.
- Make time—and plans—to see the city. Why go to a beautiful, historic, fun city like New Orleans and not take advantage of it? When you’re meeting with your colleagues, whenever possible, arrange for the meeting to be off site. Visit the Café du Monde and talk business over coffee and beignets. Or walk through the French Quarter or Jackson Square as you chat. Your colleagues will probably thank you for the opportunity to get out of the convention center and see some of the sights.
It’s also important to plan ahead to avoid wearing yourself out at Sage Summit. These sorties are exhausting enough without having to dash around to catch people you want to see. Make sure to get healthy amounts of sleep before and during the meeting, eat well and pace yourself.
Of course, we certainly hope you’ll visit Blytheco at booth 724, where you can take a quick, informative quiz about how well your software is working for you, and you’ll have an opportunity to meet and talk with our expert software consultants and executives.
We’ll see you there!