4 tips for making Conferences more fun for teams

As I wrote in my last post (https://owntrepreneurship.com/2016/02/07/how-to-makes-conferences-less-painful/), conferences can be a pain. But if you’re lucky enough to travel to one as part of a team you could potentially have more fun.

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But make no mistake, in order to have fun and avoid constant bickering, please consider the following tips:

  1. Effective communication
    It’s hard to keep everyone in sync with what’s going on during a conference- one person wants to attend a keynote, the other to walk the halls, third just scheduled an appointment with a potential customer at the café. But wait- who’s manning the booth?? Afterhours can also be challenging- some want to rest at the hotel, other to eat, other to party and others have to prepare for the next day. Just arranging a joint meal could be a strenuous ordeal. To avoid mishaps and facilitate coordination, make sure you update everyone, all the time. Luckily this is easier today than ever- just create a WhatsApp group for all members of the team, and use it to communicate. In addition, make sure everyone has the contact numbers of the organizers, booth builder, IT technician and anyone else you might need in a hurry.
  2. Sharing the load
    Some people work harder than others at conferences- people whose job is to stand at the booth (Mainly marketing folks) all day long are not in for a treat. Sales and business development people walk around, sit for meetings at coffee shops and sometime shoot off to offsite meetings. Make a schedule where everyone is committed to spend some time at the booth, and make sure no one has to stand there all day every day of the event. Same goes for booth building and dismantling and packing. Making it a team effort and the people tasked with it will thank you for making their lives easier.
  3. Having fun by gamifying
    Ok, so you are forced to spend 3 days in a huge hall with multiple people. You can never wander off too far or for too long, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. Create a group challenge- see how brings back the most giveaways, or the most silly/ ugly/useless one. take photos for future use. Or better still, see how many cool giveaways you can collect for the guys back home. Which leads to my last point-
  4. Don’t forget your back-office
    Surely there are people back home supporting you- the office admin who made the travel arrangements for you, your tech guys on call to support you and even your marketing guy who’s doing social media buzz from remote. Be kind and bring back home something for them. Even the smallest gift (which is something you take from another vendor booth anyway) could go a long way in thanking someone.

Keep these simple rules and fun (or at least a more productive time) is guaranteed.

 

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How to make conferences less painful

 

Conference are demanding, tiring affairs. You start the day fresh, dressed smartly and filled with energy, and end it crawling back home, bones aching and just wanting to get to bed…

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Ready to go…

 

Here are some tips I’ve accumulated over the years:

  1. Have someone go instead of you.
    Sounds silly right? Well- you’d be surprised at how many non- marketing/ sales people enjoy attending and presenting at conferences. For some it’s just the novelty, for other the chance for a trip aboard and for some its and opportunity to explore the industry. Whatever the motivation- why not harness it? For sure a motivated individual will be better at chatting to folks at the booth. You can train them do deliver the sales pitch, or ask them to help with general booth-related tasks (operating the games, handing our giveaways, collecting contact details etc.). since many people in your organization actually know the product better than you (having dealt with it for years) they might actually be better in some regards than pure sales/ marketing people. And you will get the chance to sit back and enjoy a week of back-office fun.
  2. Carry a trolley
    20160127_233104 (1) - עותק
    Unsung hero of the conference halla

    An easy hack, but what a difference. Sure, it will make you look somewhat weird at first. But after several hours of walking around your back will thank you and the naysayers will salute you. By the way- this is also applicable if you’re operating a booth- you still have to carry heavy stuff to or from the hotel to the site (brochures and giveaways) so make the trip easier and stuff it all down the trolley.

  3. Hydrate and eat (but beware of junk):
    It’s very easy to get carried away and spend an entire day with eating or drinking. Or even worse, eating candy and chocolate and drinking only coffee and beer. Do your body a favor- grab a small plastic bottle and keep it filled with fresh water. No need to hold it- that’s what you have a trolley for! And if food (real food, not the free stuff they give away at the other booths) is scarce or expensive, keep some energy bars with you for a quick nibble when hunger strikes.

All in all, conferences can be a welcome break from your daily routine. Done right and you might even enjoy these…