As we prepare ourselves for the MRCA in Omaha later this month, we’ve been thinking a lot about what we need to take with us. Conventions are excellent places to network and find friends, clients, and suppliers, but all that networking requires some resources. This week’s blog is a guide to preparing for conventions that can benefit any company, big or small. So get your brick of business cards ready and read on!
KEEP THOSE CARDS HANDY
Speaking of business cards, when’s the last time you updated yours? Keeping your contact information fresh and up to date is an absolute MUST when you’re heading to a trade show. Whether the recipient of your card is a possible customer, vendor, or a new buddy, being able to contact you is the whole point of the card game. We’re big believers in writing on business cards, whether they be notes on our conversation or items to follow up on. What we’re not fans of is having to pull out the pen and correct the info on our cards every time we hand them to someone. We’ve spent the last month updating our cards, if you’re looking for a couple options to update your own, you should check out 4over4.com and Thikit, they’re doing great work and offer free sample packets so you can get a feel for what you’re ordering.
If you’ve got a booth, dressing that booth is a BIG consideration in the run-up to the event. How your booth looks will speak volumes to attendees and set a precedent for how they look at your company in the future. As a tech company, we tend to like tablets and televisions as significant parts of our set-up. Being able to demo our software and show off our work is an absolute must. The problem is fitting all that in a carry-on. Whatever you decide to build your booth presence with, we suggest sourcing as much from the convention’s location after you arrive. It means some last minute purchases and a little touring around the city, but getting to know the area is half the fun of traveling to trade shows anyway!
BRING YOUR A-GAME
All the physical elements of your convention presence aside, if you’re not ready for 48+ hours of socialization and networking you’ll be in for a surprise. No one wants to approach the booth where everyone staffing it is on their phones, snoozing, or visibly fighting a massive per-diem hangover. Rest up before the trip if you can, and don’t go crazy once you arrive. A lot of business can happen in the bars after hours, but don’t stay out so late that you no-show the next day. Be kind to your body and know your limits, and try and fit some snacks for the booth in with all your other luggage, it’ll be worth it.
We hope this short list is helpful for your next convention prep session. If you’re heading to the MRCA in a couple weeks, look for us out on the floor and see if we followed our own advice. We’ll be handing out some goodies as well, so make sure you’ve got some free hands when you arrive. If you’re missing this show, we’ll try and catch you at the IRE or SVG shows next year!