Network Media Partners exhibited at The ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition for the first time just a few weeks ago. We had a great first experience in Nashville meeting with current clients and potential new ones at our booth, attending education sessions, and heading out to the (many) networking events!
This was my first Annual Meeting, as both an exhibitor and attendee, and ASAE did a great job of helping me navigate the conference. They designated us first-timers as “new-bees” and created a meeting spot for us in Nashville’s Music City Center called “The Hive”. Catchy!
Not every conference puts this attention to detail on the new folks, so here are my lessons learned as the “new-bee” for those that need help navigating on their own:
1. Have a Plan:
Heading to an annual meeting, conference, or convention for the first time can be overwhelming, especially when it’s the size of ASAE. It’s important to have a plan! Spending time on the event website or mobile app will help you get a lay of the land and pick a few must-dos. I identified one education session I wanted to attend each day, which gave my schedule each day some structure. By only choosing one must-do, it also gave me the flexibility to listen to where other folks were headed.
As an exhibitor, this becomes even more important as it is likely that your non-expo time is limited. Reach out to clients and prospects before the show and invite them to stop by your booth or schedule time to grab a coffee outside of the hall.
2. Don’t Skip the Networking Events:
Whether it’s stopping by an on-site lounge (like The Hive for first time attendees) or attending a post-show reception, there are many learning and engagement opportunities outside of the expo hall and educations sessions. Attending events gives you the opportunity to build connections with colleagues and peers outside of the traditional business setting of the conference. Prepare yourself for a long day and don’t skip the networking events (or the coffee).
3. Keep it Going:
You just spent 4 action-packed days away from the office – you met tons of new people, and filled your notebook with great ideas from education sessions. Now what? Keep it going!
Did you meet a few people with whom you developed a great connection? Find them on LinkedIn and connect. Did you attend an education session that had you scribbling ideas (or taking pictures of the slides if you’re like me)? Share that session with your team, subscribe to an e-newsletter, or event just bookmark their website or blog for future reading.
Keep the networking and learning going after the event has ended and you’ll feel like those 4 days out of the office were worth the overflowing email inbox.
Did you attend or exhibit at ASAE? Is there a piece of feedback you’d give to a first timer? Leave it in the comments!
–Brittany Shoul, Sales Manager, Network Media Partners.
Leave a Comment August 27, 2014