You just hit submit and registered for Oracle Open World. Visions of large convention halls, bright lights, and jet-level audio can make your head spin. It’s time to map out your game plan. We’re here to help.
Here are some insights that will make your experience successful and more enjoyable.
Start Your Research
- Jot down a list of questions you want to find answers to including a list of subjects you want to learn more about.
- Install the conference “app.” Sometimes it’s just a mobile enabled website schedule and other times it is a full-blown application with tools and schedules allowing you to get the most out of the convention. Either way, it is a great way to organize your time.
- Plan your schedule: Using the app, list exhibits/exhibitors you want to visit including scheduled speakers and presentations. So if a last minute a new opportunity comes up, you can change your plans while you know what you are missing in exchange.
- Find the event hashtag (Oracle Open World’s is #oow14) and follow the conversation. Things happen in real time at a large tech show. You will want know about opportunities to meet, mingle, and network.
- Download or print maps of the convention and surrounding areas. While conventions do have directional signage and information desks, it may be not well marked.
- Sign up to learn something completely new. Go to a session or demo on a topic that you know little or nothing about and just listen. It’s surprising how a new topic can revitalize you.
- If possible, bring a colleague, so you can tag-team overlapping sessions or events.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Dressing sharp can make a good impression on anyone you meet, but you will be walking a few miles a day. An entire show is ruined after a single day if you can’t walk painlessly for the remainder. It’s also worth investing in compression socks; they help prevent aching feet.
- Bring your iPad/tablet. Don’t forget all your charging devices, too.
- Bring your business cards. You’ll never know when you will need to have your contact information ready when making a formal introduction.
- Stash some non-perishable snacks in your bag, like protein bars or trail mix. Even though many conferences will offer meals, you may not have time to stop and eat.
The Exhibit Visit
- Before you walk into an exhibit, stay in the aisle, look around, and get a feel for the company and its own brand personality. What do the graphics and screens look like? How is the booth laid out? Is it open and inviting? Are people congregating around a particular demo? Is it busy? Do attendees look engaged with staff or are they looking down, shifting their weight, and looking like the want to leave?
- If you aren’t sure where to start, find the area in the exhibit with the largest crowd. There is a good chance there is a demonstration in progress, so you can observe first, before engaging with exhibit staff.
- Ask questions about them. Have they been to this show before? What do they do? How long have they worked at the company? Are they a developer? If they are wearing a name badge, include their name in the conversation. This helps build rapport quickly.
- Ask questions about the company. How did they get started? What makes their technology better and faster than everyone else does?
- Reference something you seen and ask their opinion, such as “I saw demo X at this booth, do you have technology like this?”
- When all else fails, ask, “What’s new?” This tried and true question will get the conversation going.
- After visiting an exhibit, or attending a session or event, take a moment to jot down down at least one key takeaway from each session or conversation. Evernote is a great app to take notes and photos to capture information you’ll want to refer to later on.
- Eat with new people at included meals. You never know whom you could meet or what they may know. The worst outcome of sitting at a random table is that you end up having met new people.
- Charge your batteries.
- If you stay up too late on day one, it will have a cascading effect on how much you are able to accomplish on remaining days.
- Get some exercise: go for a walk outside or workout in the hotel gym.
- If time permits, head back to your favorite exhibits on the last day: After a long show on the last day, there are fewer people in the exhibitor area. These folks will be less overwhelmed and willing to spend more time with you talking and sharing their expertise.
- Consider shipping giveaways home – It’s likely you will wind up with an assortment of collaterals, handouts and exhibitor giveaways and not all of it will fit in your suitcase. Most hotels will help you with this and then you can accept all kinds of giveaways and swag from exhibitors without dealing with the burden of taking them on the plane.
- Go through the notes/photos that you took during the event. Put together a presentation of what you learned at the trade show to the rest of your team. Bring some of your giveaways into the office so you have a show and tell during your presentation.
Have some great tradeshow secrets to share? Please share with us in the comment section below.
Make your way to the South Hall at Moscone to the Kofax exhibit (#737) and Enter to Win an Elder sound speaker.