A tradeshow for tradeshow people may sound funny to some, but EXHIBITORLIVE is just that – a show dedicated to event planners. As a former event planner for more than ten years (see photo of me from my Glen Raven event days), I remember how nice it was to have one show a year that I could simply enjoy attending without having any execution responsibility.
Based on my experience, I really want to encourage other event planners to take full advantage of what this conference has to offer. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to make the most of your EXHIBITORLIVE experience.
Network with your peers
I love that this year’s theme is “Connect with your species.” Indeed, we (event planners) are a “unique breed”, and not everyone gets us. One of the best things EXHIBITORLIVE offers is the opportunity to connect with and learn from our peers. Take advantage of the many opportunities to mix and mingle with others, ask questions during the sessions and don’t be afraid to go up to a speaker (after a session) or seek out others who caught your attention. It is important to know that we are not alone, and that others share our challenges and frustrations. If you have found a product or vendor you love, here is your chance to help others in need by spreading the word. It is also a great opportunity to simply exchange ideas about what worked and what didn’t, to share stories and laughs, or even to find a shoulder to lean on.
Soak up all the wisdom
With 176 in-depth sessions and workshops, there is no shortage of learning opportunities at this year’s EXHBITORLIVE. Selecting the right ones for you may be a challenge. Some choices may seem obvious, but I encourage you to choose at least one or two sessions or workshops that push you at least slightly outside of your comfort zone – where you have an opportunity to grow. For example, measurement and analytics may not be “your thing,” but try choosing one of the 23 sessions on that topic to help you learn a few new skills, expand your knowledge base and even speak more strategically to your executives. That is especially important if you are looking to move into that next phase of your career.
Build relationships with vendors
We all understand the value of building relationships, but many of us buy technology and services from vendors that we never meet. EXHIBITORLIVE is the perfect opportunity to get to know the people you do business with. At a minimum, please stop by their booth to say hello and check out new product updates. But, try to take advantage of other opportunities to really connect with them, including invitations to join them for dinner, drinks, etc. That connection can pay off later if you need a little extra TLC from your vendor.
Last but certainly not least, take advantage of this opportunity to treat yourself. Like I said, this is probably the one show a year you are not responsible for. Find time to grab a nice dinner, see a show, check emails by the pool or get a massage. You might not get another opportunity like this until next year.
If you have other shows happening while you are trying to bask in the “all about me” glory of EXHIBITORLIVE, (I know I certainly did), I want you to know that there are tools that now exist to help make all of that communication a little easier. That’s the reason I created WorkTrip – to help lessen the pains and frustrations I dealt with as a planner and make corporate events easier.
If you would like more tips on how to make the most of EXHIBITORLIVE, let me know. And, be sure to stop by and see me at booth #641. I would be happy to exchange a few event war stories, share a few laughs or even offer a shoulder to lean on. I look forward to seeing you there!