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How to walk a Busy Expo

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I am a tech ‘Exhibition Expert’! Period!!Having walked 4-5 shows every year across several continents for the last 10 years makes me complete my half-century, well almost. But I am still left with the same enthusiasm and hunger to get my prying eyes search for any new piece of tech or idea in the making. Just back from the International CES , Las Vegas and all set for the MWC Barcelona in the mid-Feb followed by CEBIT in March, it’s a busy months ahead.My previous plan was to write a book but that would have been too much for my “readers”. So for now, just these 10 points will earn you the doctorate in walking the show floor of a busy expo. Get enlightened…6.EventManagement_Slide1

  1. Reach at least a day before the show starts. The logic is simply because all the top bosses are around, and energy level is high. You are fresh to kick start and not jet-lagged. By the end of the show days the top guys have flown with their mistress to the island resorts leaving their stalls to be manned by the promoters and the less important souls of their company. And hence no point hovering around towards the end!
  2. Don’t just land up for any expo just because you are invited or it has some fancy attractions. Do some research beforehand on a thing called internet before registering. Look out for seminars and key notes. There are some superb talks, conferences and round tables to soak in the gyan and hear leaders and industry veterans talk. That’s a great place to network too and expand your contacts. I have heard Mark Zuck, Michael Dell, Andy Grove and many of their folks and trust me they talk a lot of sense and by the end of it, enlightenment dawns on me.
  3. Carry a stroller. Whether you like it or not you will come across samples, goodies and brochures and lugging a backpack around will hit your back. Invest in a smart trolley bag (I have a chic Samsonite!). It looks suave and you can carry a change, chocolates and munches, and more serious stuffs like your laptop and the power bank. Connect on the Wi-Fi spot and get done with replying to your awaiting emails.
  4. Buy a pair of black Nike, Adidas, Puma sneakers. Trust me no one looks at your shoes but walking with the fancy leather Steve Madden will turn your feet into roasted almonds which you can’t eat nor preserve. Wear the sneakers under your suit or casuals. As long as it’s black it doesn’t matter. Rest assured you are going to be walking a marathon.
  5. Best way to walk any expo hall is to walk left to right, carry the map and download the app. You will surely be confused and save yourself more walks by navigating yourself out of the floor.
  6. Use a picture scribble app, like Evernote and take the visiting card or product picture or whatever that fancies you and write under it his third wifes’ name if that’s what you feel will help you remember the conversation! Usually you might end up collecting 200+ visiting cards and at the end might have no idea whether you met them while taking a leak at the bar or at the booth or in the cab lane.
  7. Look out for all the official parties . At CES, IFA ,CEbit & GSMA ,there is an opening and closing party and usually you have a high chance of breaking the glass with the folks you exchanged visiting cards with. Business is done over drinks mate! Mark my words.
  8. Go with an open mind and also know the core. New distribution products and ideas are galore and sometimes you can add three products and make a new one for your market under your brand and become the next Steve Jobs. Unless you are not locked in your approach you can’t add up opportunities.
  9. AirBnb is here, so if you can’t afford the expensive hotels closer to the exhibition grounds use AirBnb and stay as close to the expo ground that you can walk by. Taxis and shuttles have long queues after the day end and with shuttles you will never get lucky and seat next to that booth girl which you have been eyeing on. So, those are absolutely pointless.
  10. Finally, go to the irish bars and buzzing pubs. It’s here you will meet interesting people who will not always make you money but can give you pleasure in other ways.
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