Wednesday, August 31, 2011

 

The four "other" things you can learn at your next conference

You're there to close some business, meet partners, hear speakers and network with fellow attendees. But if you look between the lines, and pay closer attention to what's going on around you, you can also absorb a ton of best (and worst) practices about running or participating in a successful conference.

For example:

Booth practices & tactics (the good, bad and ugly)
Which booths drew your attention and why? Which were you embarrassed for? Break down the booth appearance, attractiveness, giveaways, staff performance and etiquette. What ideas could you take away for your next event, and what tactics and/or behavior will you remind your team to never do again? Take notes and take pictures to remind yourself of what you've seen and want to emulate (or not) next time.

Guerilla tactics
At the Dreamforce conference this week, rival online CRM systems are here too. They're just hanging out on the sidewalks, placing ads on taxi cabs and doing other creative things to get attendee attention on the fringes of the official event. There's a fine line, of course, between being creative and getting attention, and crossing the line and being obnoxious at someone else's conference. This applies as well to those who execute guerilla tactics at their booths, in the aisles, at the conference hotels, and so on.

Panel & presentation best practices
Who gave the best presentations and why? Was it because of their content, their performance on stage, their visuals, their examples? Similarly, who was awful and why? Almost any event you attend will feature both ends of this spectrum. Follow an event's Twitter hashtag and you'll get a real-time sense for what other people think as well (and why).

Event management best practices
The details behind executing a successful event are endless. But the best conference experiences pay attention to the little things. Signs telling you where to go, people in colorful t-shirts to answer your questions, constantly refilled water dispensers at the end of trade show aisles, etc. What are the little things you noticed at your last show? What little things generated buzz from attendees (either live or via the chat boards or Twitter)?

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