It’s important that if you are going to take the time away from work to attend a conference like 13th Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS), you know exactly how to maximize it!
The Abuja International Housing Show can be a game changer for your brand and business. More importantly as a participant, if done the right way can prove to be a gold mine of opportunities. Whether you are going to attend the show’s conference sessions, the exhibition or to make sales, you have to be prepared.
There are things that successful professionals do at AIHS that helps them make the most out of the event. And this piece will show you how.
Most professionals look forward to AIHS because they are certain they will get new business from it; they know exactly how to work a room and walk up to a stranger like an old friend; they are a magnet for business cards because they aren’t the sleazy schmoozer types; they are the people who everyone wants to sit next to at lunch.
Pros seem to effortlessly manage the schedule, land VIP coffees and kill it at after-parties.
First Tip: Your Assets
AIHS Conference pros not only have the skills to rock the event, they also have an arsenal of tools at their disposal. Before you go to the event, make sure you have the following in place:
Your Badge: One of your most important, but often overlooked, assets for AIHS conference and exhibition is your badge. It is your first impression. It is your conversation starter. It is your calling card. It is your key to interactions. Before leaving, double- and triple-check that your name and company is spelled correctly in the conference system. This way you won’t show up and discover a mistake. You also might consider bringing your own badge, lanyard or pins to add. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with someone who has added something interesting to the boring traditional badge.
Insider Tip: If you have an opportunity to add a conversation starter to your badge, do it! For example, you can write your favorite quote on the back of your badge so if it flips over, there is still something interesting there. You can add a conversation starter below your name. Sometimes badges allow you to add an interesting fact–never pass up an opportunity to add an additional element to your badge. It will make YOU easier to approach.
Your Contact: At AIHS, if someone wants your information, you definitely can give them a business card, but you also want to be able to bump or pass someone your info phone to phone. This is especially helpful if someone wants to grab drinks later. We highly recommend having a professional contact for yourself in your address book that you can text someone quickly. This ‘conference contact’ should have just your phone number, email, website and maybe social media info, such as your Twitter or Instagram handle.
Your Business Card: Hopefully this is obvious, but bring a TON of cards–more than you ever think you will need. Don’t be that person who runs out and needs to use a napkin instead.
One other big thing to think about with your business card as an asset. Be honest: Is your business card boring? AIHS Conference pros have interesting, conversation-sparking, memorable business cards because they are getting so many at once. If you can, we highly recommend having your picture on your business card, so people remember who you are when looking at it later.
2. Pitch Perfect
Most people have one elevator pitch that they use for everything. This is a MISTAKE for conferences. You want a conference-specific elevator pitch tailored to the people you are meeting. This will help you be more relevant and more memorable.
How do you tailor your pitch for a conference? You have options. You can say, “My name is Lagbaja, and I’m mortgage investor at a mortgage finance company called Mortgage Lead.”
Before you arrive at the conference, write out a few specific variations of your pitch. Especially if you are attending the trade show and exhibition behind a booth. You want your elevator pitch also to be your sales pitch for your booth. For example, when you are marketing a product to clients at the show, your pitch can be like this: “We’re a home and office furniture company running a promo for our new clients. Want to try it?”
3. Offer Don’t Ask
Some participants do not perform very well at the conference because they believe that conferences were about asking. Some participants just want to get more business cards and contacts, but that can present them to be too needy.
Participants have to discover the power of the offer. It is best to let other connections at the conference know that you have something beneficial to offer them. That will trigger their interest because they too are looking out for what to benefit.
4. Don’t Be Isolated
Ensure to be early at the events. Don’t pass up the opportunity to get to a session five minutes early and sit at a partially full table or block of seats with people. Don’t pick the empty table or the row of empty seats! You are missing the best networking opportunity. When you sit down at a table, you can ask an easy context come on, “What made you sign up for this session?” or “How’s the lunch?” or simply, “What brings you here?”
5. Get In and Stay In
Once you’re in, you want to stay in. Staying in is how to keep the conversation going. These tips work whether you are standing at a booth or chatting with someone in the bathroom line. First, use conference-specific conversation starters, such as:
What did you think of the keynote?
Have you learned anything really interesting so far?
Which break-out session are you going to go to?
Any booths I should stop by in the Exhibition Hall?
Second, use killer conversation starters. Please DO NOT ask them what they do or where they are from. These are ridiculously boring and YOU are more interesting than that. Once you have had some casual chit chat, use one of our killer conversation starters, such as:
“Worked on anything exciting recently?” This is a better way to ask someone what they do.
“What are you looking forward to the rest of the day?” This is better than asking someone “How are you?”
“Who is the most interesting person you have met here?” This is a great way to build your network.
6. Know Your Limits
If you are not an extrovert, don’t try to be! Even if you are an extrovert, we all have limits. The worst way to do a conference is to try doing it all, even when you’re exhausted or out of your element. Do you do better one-on-one? Then setting up coffees at conferences is going to be way more productive for you than attending a break-out session. Do you love late nights? Then host an after-party! Knowing your limits also applies to food, sleep and timing too.
When you are ready to wrap it up, give them a genuine compliment, such as, “It’s been a pleasure talking to you.” or “I loved hearing about your business idea.”
Then cue them to the exit with a follow-up item, such as, “I’ll follow-up with you on email.” or “Hope to see you at the after-party tonight.” or “Pass me your business card and I’ll find you on LinkedIn.”
Finally, the handshake is a really clear cue and will get even the most persistent person to realize that you want to make a lasting impression. Smile, stick out your hand and give a nice send-off with well wishes, such as, “Good luck today.” or “Break a leg in your workshop.” or “Safe travels.”
7: Network with AIHS Mobile App and Our Social Media
Maximizing a conference doesn’t just happen at the conference. It can also happen online. Make sure to download to AIHS Mobile App on Google store and make new virtual connections with like minds and businesses.
Use the event hashtag! If you are on Twitter, you can get so many new followers by using the event hashtag. Jump on the hashtag during keynotes and workshops. Post pictures and thank you’s. This gets you tons of new followers and activity.
If you can thank the organizers and conference planning committee, do it! They work really hard to put on events and very rarely get thanked. Who knows? You might be chosen as a speaker for next year/
By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja
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