What makes for a successful conference? From the celebrity ish guest speakers to the networking cocktail hours, a mixture of people who represent companies, brands, agencies - our CEO’s experience will ensure great conferencing.
At a recent conference in the Food Service Technology space (FSTEC) - DevHub had a booth and people on the ground. It was late September and there was a sense of excitement in meeting with the multi location brands we served through our agency customers. One of the keynotes was Howard Behar (former President of Starbucks) and the room at the Washington DC hotel was packed! Mr. Behar told very candid stories of the ups and downs during Starbucks early years and eventual rise.
As his time on stage came to a close, the room dispersed to the main exhibition hall lined with vendor booths - from sweet menu display technologies to online ordering software. I mingled around the room. After a sometime I came away with a small stack of about 12 business cards from different vendors - many who I followed up with at my office 72 hours later.
Conferences work because it's the face to face meetings which put a name to the insane amount of emails we all get.
Rules of conferencing:
Dress appropriate - company polos/ gear are fine.
Hygiene - too many times at conferences people have traveled from around the world to attend - leaving within 48 hours of arriving, so a shower may not have happened. It definitely needs too. Stink is not good for business.
Vendors are your friends - often times vendors know or have done business with the customers you are trying to reach - connect with them first.
Cocktail hour - when you are holding a drink (even water) and you make contact - say hello, it's easy.
Wear the lanyard - its free advertising (do not hide in a blazer or vest.
Off Sites - if possible suggest dinner or appetizers off site. This creates a simple but often times unforgettable experience (especially if the conference is in a city that either of you have been).