WHAT MAKES A GOOD CONFERENCE?
Just this last month Radish Systems attended five conferences or trade shows around the country as our company moves beyond stealth mode, gears up for a public announcement, and begins to talk about our product, ChoiceView, on the street. Throughout the year, we attend dozens more. Here are a few highlights from our experience.
So, what does make a good conference? It depends on your goals. Do you want to:
|Make helpful connections and build relationships|
|Learn something new|
|Be seen in at the proper places|
|Help others by sharing your experiences|
|Get inspired and recharged, or what?|
Clarify your objectives and hold that purpose in your mind as you work the event. Determine apriori if a certain forum will help you achieve these objectives or not. With smaller budgets in tight economic times, you must say NO to many and YES to the best forums.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THREE OF THE BEST
The biggest ah-ha revelation was ‘Tuning into the Back Channel.’ Here’s what others say about the conference. “Defrag attracts an amazing group of people. The discussion is thoughtful and deep.” “Defrag is two very intense days of some of the smartest and thought provoking thinking about the use and impact of social information processing today.”
The result for Radish? We ignited and prioritized our social media marketing strategy, met a possible investor, and decided — after talking to another CEO who was doing this successfully — to launch our advisory council which now has 10 helpful executives.
Glue conference. It introduced Radish to cloud computing, the key players in this space, and important considerations when moving into the cloud. Wikipedia.com says, “Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like the electricity grid. The major cloud service providers include Salesforce, Amazon and Google.”
The best Glue educational session was by Troy Davis of CloudVox on “Pricing an API Sucks: Here’s What We Did.” His message was not to overanalyze how to price your service, but to keep it simple. He suggested that you quickly put something out there and let the market give you feedback.
The result for Radish Systems? We simplified ChoiceView pricing and met / built a relationship with the right telecom-based cloud service provider. Super valuable!
Fortune Gazelles Growth Summit. This conference brought together 400+ executives for the best learning event of the year on stimulating corporate growth. Liz Wiseman, Former VP Oracle University, talked about her new book, “Multipliers: How The Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter.” Leaders who are multipliers empower people by asking questions rather than barking orders. In contrast, diminishers micro-manage and leave people feeling disempowered. What is your leadership style?
The result for Radish Systems? We introduced ChoiceView on the floor and found some hot prospects, revisited our rhythm of internal meetings and have moved to daily short huddles, and are leading by asking more questions.
I could go on and on. Many of the conferences we participated in exceeded our expectations. What about yours?
PRACTICAL POINTERS ON BEST PRACTICES FOR CONFERENCES
|Be clear on your objectives. Say NO to some meetings and shows.|
|Prepare and be open to the possibilities. Your greatest learnings/contacts may be different than you preconceived ideas.|
|Make good connections. Look for quality not quantity.|
|Do your follow-up. The connections made at a conference are worthless unless you reconnect afterwards and stay in touch. Use LinkedIn or Facebook. Track results — what this meeting have a payback?|
|Be kind to yourself afterwards. To work a conference effectively, it takes tremendous energy. Don’t overbook your schedule on the day you return.|