Dorothy Dalton gives advice on seizing the opportunities at HR Tech World.
I’m looking forward to going to Paris later this month to HR Tech World Congress. It’s a massive event. I mean seriously massive. With 4000 participants, over 700 vendors and brand names in the HR Tech world, main conferences with international keynote speakers and interesting break-out sessions, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I do. I thought I would share some tips for making the most of this great event from someone who has learned the hard way.
Here’s how to successfully combine the themes of vendor exhibits, conference content and network.
I made the mistake in the past of just pitching up on the day and wandering around looking gobsmacked. It’s not a great approach. It really is worth your while to research and decide how you want to optimize your time. Check out the agenda and highlight your main areas of interest. You will be spoiled for choice.
2. Have a plan
Is there anything you specifically want to see or a person you want to visit or connect with? See if you can set that up in advance. Try and understand the venue layout. It’s not easy. Finding yourself on the wrong side of the exhibition centre can make a difference to missing something you want to see or hear. You will be smashing your Fitbit steps at this event so be prepared to walk. A lot.
Check any directions given verbally with the conference plan. Make sure you know your “à gauche” from your “à droite.” It could mean kilometers if you mess up. I did and I speak French.
If you have the opportunity to register the night before the event starts, then that would be advisable. It cuts out the queuing on the first morning.
3. Bring business cards, change of shoes and a big bag
You will meet loads of new people. Remember to bring your business cards so that you can connect with them after the event. Ladies that means you too. I am always super impressed by the people I see coping with the whole day on high heels. There are even a few on stilts. If you are a wimp like me, take a change of shoes or even flats. I actually saw someone in slippers last year. I always carry Band-Aids if you can’t find First Aid.
A big bag is also helpful. You will be offered lots of goodies so make sure you have a sizeable tote to take them home with you.
4. Reach out to new people
I can never understand the sadistic modern day combo of eating, drinking, standing up and networking at the same time. It makes us all feel genetically challenged. But being a good networker isn’t all about being cool. It’s not just about making your perfect pitch, collecting cards or securing appointments.
It’s about embracing others. Metaphorically of course, not in a Trump-ish way. That would be nasty. If you are genuinely a good networker you will be empathetic towards, and aware of, the people around you and help them feel at ease. So if you see someone on their own, or looking lost or frazzled, a friendly “Would you like to join us?” never goes amiss.
Especially if it’s me! Please Connect on LinkedIn and look out for me in the crowd!