Brace Yourself… Conference Season is Coming (Well, It’s Already Here)

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By Lyn CanilaoAugust 24, 2016

Brace Yourself… Conference Season is Coming (Well, It’s Already Here)

In the tech industry, summer now means a flurry of events – DockerCon, RSA, Red Hat Summit, Fortune Brainstorm Tech, VMworld, Strata + Hadoop World – and the list seems to grow as fast as the Night King’s army. And now that we’re nearing the end of summer, there are even more on the way. Behind the scenes of these events are where we (PR pros) work our magic. We’re orchestrating announcements, coordinating meetings and staying alert for competitor news. Many times we also have feet on the ground at these shows.

While it is not as scary as facing the undead army, attending industry events for the first time can be intimidating. You are surrounded by a sea of people you need to connect with – faces you recognize from Twitter, your client’s top-level executives and experts who know tech like Samwell knows history.

You may be asking yourself, “How do I become conqueror of all conferences?”

We from House Bhava are at your aid with tips on how to become the King or Queen of attending conferences (no dragons required):

Map Out Your Battle Plan

– Outline which sessions you’ll be attending, briefings you’re staffing and time for mingling. Have it easily accessible on your phone, on a piece of paper or on both.

– If it’s a multi-day conference, make time to exercise. You’re probably not going to be getting enough sleep, but working out will keep you energized and motivated during long conference days.

– Prepare a bunch of different snacks. Not only will you likely find that you need them but you may be able to save your coworker or a client from a sugar crash right before that key interview.

– Have an extra bottle of water handy – very helpful for staying fresh between meetings.

Rise as the Networ(king)

– Bring more business cards than you think you’ll need. If your conference badge is in a plastic sleeve, stash a bunch of cards behind the name tag for easy access. You can also use it to store the cards you get from people you meet.

– Practice “elevator pitches” for yourself, your workplace and your clients. This will help you break the ice during quick networking sessions.

– Say yes to swag! The free stuff is pretty cool, but the main reason this is a top suggestion is the lines for the best swag are a great place to meet people and start conversations.

– Posting photos or quotes from speakers on Twitter is a great way to network and connect with fellow attendees. Don’t forget the hashtags!

Collect Information Like a Maester

– Attend a session (or more) if you can find the time and your badge lets you in. Jot down relevant observations and insights to share with your team and with your client after the show.

– Explore the whole tradeshow floor and keep a note of what messages stand out to you, the competitive companies in your client’s space and what they’re saying and doing on the show floor.

– Talk to people and collect marketing and sales collateral materials.

– Schedule a debrief with your team after following the conference and share what you’ve learned and brainstorm how your newfound knowledge can be put to use.

 

Attending industry events lets you take a deep dive into your client’s technology and the trends happening in their space. You’ll have a chance to hear directly from end users, reporters, analysts and your client’s employees on what interests them most and what they think about the latest developments in tech. It puts a face to the people on the receiving end of many of your pitches, press releases, contributed articles, etc. So if you have the opportunity to attend a conference, by all means seize it!

Lyn is an Account Executive and (unofficial) Vice President of Snacks at Bhava Communications. When not geeking out over emerging technologies, you can find her trying to dance at live music shows and snapping photos of her food from various bird's-eye angles.
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