Drawing tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world, OTC is among the world’s largest trade shows focused on the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection.
Throughout my career I participated in many trade shows, large and small, regional and international, but believe me, there is nothing like OTC.
Can you work this kind of event? You bet.
Here are my 3 tips to have a great experience at OTC-2015, or at any other trade show you plan to attend.
1. Strategize Your Meetings
Plan ahead and be strategic about your time and the meetings/panels you want to attend. There are plenty of interesting things to hear at a conference, but your time is limited. Choose only the most important events to attend. Set a daily goal of meeting with a certain number of new contacts. Make sure you don’t get distracted until you’ve met your goal.
Many business people miss out on great opportunities at thematic panels and round table events. If you’ve just heard a great speaker or an executive that you want to do business with, don’t be shy, come up and introduce yourself. Do your business a favor. And no, you’re not annoying – you’re here for business.
2. Listen Up and Give Your Full Attention to Your Prospect
You know the type of guy who looks at your name tag and smiles if he sees a big brand name embellished by a good title, but if you’re a student or young professional, he glances over you like a scanning machine at Walmart. Don’t follow his approach.
Instead, try this. When you meet with someone at the show, be it at a dinner table, a booth or between sessions, show your sincere interest in the person you’re talking with. Ask some quality questions, discover something new. The truth is, you never know what this person knows or who he’ll become in the future. And even if you really never ever meet again, your positive attitude will create great rewards. That’s how life works. Trust me or Adam Grant.
3. Stack Up Your Business Cards and Follow Up on LinkedIn on The Same Day
Whatever you do, don’t forget your business cards. Yes, it is the age of Evernote, the Apple watch and smartzillion phones. Still, business cards are a must. And yes, you can have simple ones printed at Staples, or fancy ones if you’re a cool designer. No matter what kind, bring plenty with you. Because more often than not that piece of napkin or boarding pass with that name and email of a great prospect you met at the show will be lost forever in your suit pocket at your neighborhood laundry.
Finally, when you’re back at your hotel, take out these business cards and make sure that you follow up with each and every one of your new contacts through LinkedIn. That’s how you stay on track and justify your investment. That’s how you will be taken seriously. Because LinkedIn today is a must.
Well, if you want to be even more memorable, and can invest an hour of your time in something that brings super ROI, then write a short handwritten card to your top contacts. The result will be more than you expect.
Good luck and happy networking!