INTA Top Ten Tips
We see a lot of ‘top tips’ related articles in the run up to major conferences so we thought, in honour of the upcoming INTA Annual Meeting, we’d offer our take from a service provider perspective garnished with a Fellows and Associates’ twist.
1. Assume food provided in the Exhibition Hall and break out areas will be taken away at any moment. Drop everything and stock up, chances are those cookies will not be there once you have finished your next conversation.
2. Be selective with your freebies. Yes it would be nice to have a copy of fees for that lovely firm in Eastern Mongolia to have on file, but do you really need them? Chances are you’ll be regretting it when they’re weighing you down at reception number seven of the day.
3. Be a table networker. Find an empty table, sit yourself down and wait for the steady flow of potential contacts to fill (and refill) the seats around you throughout the evening. No more awkward interjections into conversations, waiting for the moment to strike, or having to balance your drink, food and business card exchange.
4. Enjoy yourself. You are there first and foremost on business, but rather than forcing out your carefully prepared sales pitch at every opportunity, focus on having meaningful conversations and take some time to relax. Chances are the topic of business will come up naturally and you’ll make friends (and contacts) for life in the process, rather than just collecting a stack of faceless business cards.
5. Don’t be a business card zombie. This kind of follows on from number 4 but is an important tip nonetheless. We’ve all experienced them. The networkers with arms extended and business cards in hand before you even have the chance to exchange pleasantries and introduce yourself. As far as we’re concerned, the level of success you have at INTA is not denoted by the number of business cards you come away with. It’s about making meaningful connections with contacts you (and more importantly, they) will remember.
6. During receptions where canapés are provided, position yourself close enough to the catering area so that you have the pick of what’s on offer as soon as the server enters the room, but far enough away as not to arouse suspicion that you are simply there for the food (which of course you are not). Additional tip, make nice with the servers, they’ll start to make a beeline for you and the heat will be off - everyone will assume the servers are simply being over attentive to you.
7. Have a LinkedIn account, make sure it is up to date and you are visible. This seems like a no brainer but you would be surprised how many times we have come to connect with people following the meeting to find that they are not on LinkedIn. We appreciate that social networking is not for everyone. However from our point of view LinkedIn is integral to our business model and, in today’s world where technology has helped break down international communication barriers, it is a vital tool in building business overseas.
8. Wear flats. This one is specifically for the ladies (or men, we don’t judge). INTA is a lot of fun but the days can be extremely long, filled with plenty of walking, standing and not much sitting. We strongly advise making a slight fashion sacrifice for the sake of comfort because even though you might make it through day one unscathed, your feet most certainly won’t be thanking you the next morning (or the next…you get the idea).
9. Have a game plan (but don’t be afraid to deviate). The INTA Annual Meeting is a rather large event with over 8,000 attendees present from across the world. This coupled with the sheer number of receptions on offer and undoubtedly the high volume of meetings you’ve arranged, plus the unfamiliar surroundings, can prove quite overwhelming if you turn up without some form of schedule. Use the power of the Google in the run up to the conference, as well as speaking to people during the event to formulate your game plan. There’s no problem in straying slightly from your plan, but it always helps to have something to refer to if you find yourself at a loose end for a few hours.
10. Enter the competitions in the Exhibition Hall. Over the years we’ve been lucky enough to win two iPods, some JVC headphones and a selection of cuddly toys. Normally all it takes is a business card in a fish bowl and you know what they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it!
These tips are offered to you by Fellows and Associates’ recruitment consultant Phillipa Field. Phillipa is a seasoned networker at the INTA Annual Meeting and AIPPI Congress; she also attends local pottery workshops and is a regular speaker at Cat Lady Anonymous.