The Big Event…
Events, conferences and exhibitions are a bit like Marmite – you either love them or hate them! Some swear by their value whilst others see them little more than over-priced ‘jollies’, or in the case of conferences, tell you what you know already and charge you for the privilege, but is this true?
Of course, there are always good and bad events, but assuming a good event, often its success or failure will be the result of the attendee to fully engage with it, make use of the opportunity presented or have a clear idea of what they want out of it. Putting the learning events aside, where the idea is obvious, most events are more about the networking possibilities and the potential relationships that can be forged with those who can give us business, help our career or give us a better understanding of our own place or company within the industry sector.
Our advice, if you have any doubts about the benefits or usefulness of an event, is don’t-attend. Approaching with a negative expectation will affect the way you ‘work’ the event or exhibition and this self-propagated bad experience will put you off all events in the future and that’s opportunities lost.
Success is simple. Pick your events carefully and have a clear idea why you think this is the one. Do your research; get hold of a delegate list before the event and see who you would like to meet up with or speak to. Don’t be afraid to contact someone in advance of an event indicating you would like to meet up (LinkedIn is a great way to do this!). Making that connection prior to the event is a good way of breaking the ‘cold-call syndrome’. When you are at the event, treat your day like any other work day and make full use of it – it is NOT a jolly!
Finally, follow-up any contacts with emails, calls, literature or brochures requested on the day and make your reply personal. We do business as much with people we like as we do those who offer the lowest price or perceived best product so use this fact and make friends!
Events DO work – but you must work them to get any success.