In search of a meeting…wait…Who?

In Search of A Great Meeting!

Attending a show can be quite overwhelming. First thing – register and sign-up EARLY – you can save all kinds of $$ by getting early-bird rates and even free passes. Between the sensory overload of crowds, graphics, speakers, and models in a variety of attention getting costumes, the entire show can go to waste walking it with the deer-in-the-headlights look and missing the real business!. Getting an idea before-hand is really a very critical element to attending a show and getting the most for your money and time.

Getting your hands on the exhibitor list is the way to start – taking a really thorough look at the program to get into the sessions that would be most beneficial; and attending networking events is just as important. The goal is to see as many people as possible within the show days and schedule meetings for the future; show meetings are good as an initial step, but having follow-up meetings are critical to keeping the momentum going.

If the show is very large make sure to register for networking after show events early or set meetings weeks in advance. Meetings set on the show floor have a lot of competition and often meeting space can be bumped with just one breath, so make sure to have a back-up meeting venue available. Scope out any upper or lower floors for possible tables/chairs/café’s – also if your hotel is attached to the convention center check those areas as well.  If the show is smaller – set one-on-one meetings, and ask your organizer if they have a meeting space or press room that might be available.

Selecting sessions – if you are the sole attendee and there are sessions that occur at the same time, let your organizer know and see if you can get copies of the slides or talk, and then determine if it is worth sitting through half and half. The best case scenario is to have enough staff attend to cover different sessions and/or customers to get the full benefits of a show.

Sales gypsy to sales gypsy – taking time at a booth when you are selling something instead of buying, take as little time as possible but get to the decision-maker as early as possible to deliver a small-business card size message to give to clients –the card is less likely to get thrown out in the piles of literature that always ends up in the miscellaneous, “who picked this up pile!” Follow-up right after the meeting with an email with a note letting them know how much their time is appreciated and  after the show is over give it at least 2 days and then get back to your sale.

Should you be in one of those situations where you are attending and exhibiting – this is where the work really gets intense with doing the double-duty of planning your short attendee time and keeping your booth active and staffed. Get those meetings on a schedule and let your booth manager know if you have a meeting that needs a work-around or meeting space if you have it in your booth.

The ominous competition..da.da.DA!….what to do when your competition is close by and you want to set meetings. SET THEM FIRST Just know you cannot do one thing about your customer going to a show and talking to the competitor(s). You have to be able to back-up your product/service and make sure you have touched that customer first, even if your meeting is set after they have talked to your competitor, you set your meeting early and make sure you are prepared. On-the-fly meetings happen all the time at shows, but if you can get your customer bid in and are prepared you have already beat out your competitor.

Networking shows that are generally the entire industry; getting together and discussing issues and progress. These events are an excellent venue to garner data and research for future planning. This also gives companies an idea of industry changes and if competitors are still aggressively pursuing the same direction or if they could possibly have turned into a possible partner. Organizational alliances are also formed and gather at this type of event; participating assures that your company is active and recognized, supporting the entire industry/market segment.

So attendees – go forth and conquer and get ready for follow-up and  success!



The Gypsy DIET!…wait When?

Dessert and Wine and Bread! OH MY!

The answer to that is now! The Gypsy diet while traveling from camp to camp basically sucks! No other word fits.  Eating habits go completely out-of-control when traveling. My particular diet goes into extremes; either not eating all day because I am so busy while living on Starbucks or conference coffee! YIKES!
The other diet extreme for me is eating every meal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings or networking events are deadly. In either case, not good, it can throw your entire being into a crash! GYPSY DOWN!

Having at least an inkling of a game plan will help immensely. I would like to say that I have been adhering to this for years and the plan is completely fail-proof! Alas, not! I fluctuate and sometimes do really well, but other times lack of planning leads to either weight gain or weight loss in the wrong way which always comes back with a vengeance when I get home. Causing at least a weeks’ worth of corrective actions~AYE! (yes I worked for the government at one time).

Eating late after the show floor closes; and having large over indulgent meals with your colleagues or customers, can disrupt your sleep and really take your health and resistance down. Having show-floor food from a variety of $15-20 dollar pizza, hot dogs, mystery meat sandwich or even the questionable, how old is this lettuce salad; can also put you in a bad way immediately or later. Add in those, great smelling  show cookies, smoothies, popcorn and late night dinners with a few glasses of alcohol; 5 lbs later eerrrr…suit a little tight?  Bloated and feeling like the forklift hit you the next few days makes for one grouchy gypsy.

You are experiencing, “self-inflicted abuse”, with no sympathy from anyone! NOTE: This is not at all events, there are many events that have great food, in fact really great food, which you have to manage quantity because for some reason you get really hungry at shows, and they have salad to dessert! All that business being conducted I guess ups the appetite! 😉

When I do plan, I break out the go-away powder, cast it all around me to get rid of all bad eating habits that might come across my traveling path!  With the spell cast I begin when I get into the airport! I buy a bottle of water – and 2 bags of almonds. (Yes, you can bring them from home, an empty water bottle that can be filled once you pass security and pack a ziplock of almonds/nuts). I do not, I buy my water and nuts thus kicking off my official work trip; skip the soda and peanuts/pretzels on the plane. If I have to buy lunch depending on my destination, I do like to pack my own sandwich and apple slices avoiding junk food or $12 sandwich and chips or something that will alienate my seat-mates on the plane. (Pesto sandwich or garlic/onion-based anything!)

Once I get to the hotel, often, much later than scheduled, I do skip that meal, pound down the water and if hunger pangs hit me I eat a few nuts. Next morning, I have coffee as that is my normal habit, I do not eat breakfast early, I eat about 10:00 – 11:00 and try to get some protein, egg omelet type meal. I also buy a piece of fruit to have on hand for later in the day (skipping the heavy-duty junk/or great food), I try to keep to my normal schedule. I eat dinner before 7:00 and make sure to add as many veggies as possible and try to avoid red meats, sticking to fish and chicken. Now the biggy…the glass of wine or dessert! I love a glass of wine with my meal usually once maybe twice a week; but not every night, for me this will pack on the weight and sluggish feeling like nothing else! Too much alcohol indulgence (for me one glass is more than enough) it also will take down my guard; “oh, just a little piece of dessert”, or into what I call “tweet” mode; not as coherent as I need to be for the next day. Note your co-workers morning after mood and you can tell what the night before might have held for dinner, it can really take its toll.

On my good behavior shows, I plan what dinner meeting or night I will indulge and make my choice carefully, a glass of wine, bread, or dessert not all three and in many cases just one. Painful, I know when all are so readily available and you are at a great restaurant or dinner event!

Managing those meal meetings?  Try to avoid meal times for meetings, but if you cannot schedule accordingly, keep it to one a day. Still not working because of the short timeframe you are trying to meet several people? Ok, meetings at all 3 meals for 3 days – stick to your normal eating habits, if you don’t eat breakfast, don’t eat – drink your coffee and keep talking or listening; take a writing notebook to keep your hands busy and document your meeting. I find it is less annoying than a laptop/tablet/netbook sitting in the middle of the table. Lunch and dinner eat as close to normal as possible even if it means stripping off half of your would be pizza. When your normal eating timeline has passed and you still have a late dinner meeting; eat a piece of fruit and some nuts on schedule; you will not be as hungry and can order light and nurse that one glass of wine with a side glass of water and avoid the Tweet!

These little things do make a big difference for me. Everyone is different, but if you can stay as close to your normal eating habits as you can that can at least help to keep you healthy and of course that svelte gypsy figure.

FYI – GYPSY Workout coming soon – now that one will be funny! 🙂

I hope this post will garner some really great ideas we can all share.