By John Corrigan
Meetings, Events, Productivity
Meetings at events…
The ideal opportunity to meet in-person with partners and prospects.
But it’s not all champagne and world class DJs.
Conferences and trade shows can be rather unpredictable, which creates ample opportunity for details to be overlooked, guests to get lost and miss their slot, and we’ll pretty much guarantee that the WiFi won’t work on command.
The key for managing this chaos is being prepared for it, which is why we’re highlighting some simple ways teams can prepare for more productive meetings at events and put those event marketing dollars to work to open doors and close deals.
1. Extend Additional Informal Invites
Yes! You landed the meeting you’ve been dreaming of for months…but you’re not yet sure if your contact is the actual decision maker.
Don’t waste this opportunity to meet the bigger team. Meetings at events are a unique opportunity to shake hands with real influencers. Since folks rarely travel alone, make sure you ask your prospect or partner if they’d like anyone else traveling to the show to attend the meeting, and provide the name of their boss if possible.
Here’s an example ask:
I’m thrilled for our meeting at CES on January 10th at 2pm at our booth, #2310. I was wondering if you’d like anyone else from your team to attend? If your CMO Joe is attending, it might be useful for him to be in the room. I’ll have our CEO John attend the meeting as well so they can meet.
Let me know so I can send over a detailed invite!
2. Send a Very Detailed Calendar Invite
Location, location, location.
The last thing you want is a partner or prospect getting flustered trying to find the meeting spot. Provide a very detailed description of where you’re going to meet, both in the location box and in the notes section of the calendar invite. If you can, provide directions to and from their hotel or the main expo center so they will know exactly how to get to the meeting. (FYI: SummitSync’s platform helps cut out the confusion with its locations feature in calendar invites—meeting attendees can see who they’re meeting, the exact location, and contact information).
Populate the “notes” section of the invite with copious details about the meeting, including who is attending, the exact location, the agenda and the status of any prior discussions. Don’t forget to provide your phone number in the subject and notes section in case they need to track you down.
3. Use Text Messages to Break Through the Clutter
People are busy.
Conferences and trade shows seem to exacerbate this even further by stretching decision makers’ time management skills to the limit. They’re hopping from meetings to keynotes to client dinners with very little time to breathe, let alone look at their inboxes or detailed notes in calendar invites.
Sending a text message is a great way to ensure the on-the-go attendee actually receives your meeting reminder. Text messages have an open rate of 98% and a 45% response rate, so the opportunity to grab their attention and get them to the meeting is best here.
First, provide the necessary details in the message including your name, company, the meeting location, and any additional notes or context.
Now that you’ve got their attention, keep it.
If you’re at a big event like Dreamforce, text them directions or share your location to make it easier for them to find the meeting location.
See that it’s about to start raining? Text them a free Uber ride using Thnks along with the meeting reminder.
Whatever you do, make sure that you increase your chances that they’ll actually receive the meeting reminder and that it provides immediate, attention grabbing value for them.
4. Have a Backup Meeting Space
Did we mention how chaotic events can be?
Sometimes a conversation runs over in the meeting room or there are no seats at the cafe and your meeting is in ten minutes.
You could panic, or you could prepare ahead of time for the unpredictable nature of events.
Although you can’t prepare for everything, understanding the layout of the venue and places nearby can help mitigate situations like the above.
5. Don’t Rely on the WiFi
We’ve all been the victim of a bad internet connection.
Generally, it’s a quick fix or a call to your IT person—but there’s no quick fixing an event’s internet connection on the fly when a client is sitting right in front of you, waiting for your next move.
Instead of floundering, have a backup plan. This might mean having a PowerPoint deck or a downloaded video demo of the product instead of a live demo environment if you’re meeting with prospective partners. Or you can make sure tethering to your charged (!) smartphone is working and ready.
Every type of meeting will require different resources, so make sure you and your team can succeed with or without an internet connection.
Productive Meetings at Events Starts with Preparation
Conferences and trade shows can be absolute chaos, but your meetings don’t have to be. Focus on the things you can control, provide immense value to everyone you’re meeting with, and don’t forget to enjoy the benefits of all your team’s hard work.