Being a (pure evil) business developer #7: industry events survival guide
Hello dear readers, how are you?
I don’t expect many of you to read this new blog post, as probably most of you, my dear poor business developers, are attending one of the numerous industry events somewhere (Seattle at the moment I guess), feeling both the excitement, connected to experiencing new meeting, meeting new people and playing new games etc., but also complaining about how tired / hungry / sleepy you are. Normal part of our everyday job is being present at fairs, where important things happen and be part of discussions, crucial for the development of our part of industry.
Also, this is exactly why most people envy us so much
Still, although travelling around the world, meeting new people and signing new, potential lucrative business agreements sounds like a dream-come-true job (and in fact, it is :D), there are certain minor incoveniences, connected to the process. Especially if you, for example, are not part of a 55-strong EA team at the event and need to attend business matters alone, after a 13-hour trip last day, hit by 9-hour jet lag… Sounds familiar? That’s right…
There are certain things you can do to make your life at an event a little easier and I’m going to enumerate the most important here for you. I’m sure that you will find at least part of these obvious, but maybe some of this stuff will appear new and the knowledge you gather now, will be beneficial later 🙂
1. Don’t push yourself over your limits – many beginners among business developers believe that being at an industry event, especially b2b ones means, that they should go for at least 55 30-minute-long meetings, start at 9 am and leave the venue after 7 pm. Well, that’s very nice of you and suicidal BDs will always deserve my eternal respect. There’s nothing wrong with being hard-working and dedicated. But please remember that you also have to be efficient, smart and charismatic. After one day of so many meetings with so many, different people, you’ll be a wreck and your ability to perform well on day two and later will decrease significantly. Start at 10, sleep as long as you can, eat proper breakfast (not coffee, Red Bull and three donuts) and remember that lunch break is very important. You’ll see that your results at meetings will improve and you’ll just feel better.
2. Avoid alcohol – right, so networking is important and networking happens on parties and it’s easy to simple delve into night life of a new city with free booze and snacks, with people from the industry, but don’t go to far there. Your morning hangover will be painful, but that’s obvious. What’s not is that drinking too much is extremely unprofessional and being an industry jester will not benefit you nor your company.
3. Grab spare shirt or any other piece of elegant wardrobe you brought – attending meetings, running from one hall to another is tiring. And you might be sweating a lot. I’m sure you’re taking your anti-sweat tablets, but that might not be enough. You want to remain fresh and elegant. As a business developer you’re representing your company. You won’t be able to take a shower, but you’ll be able to change your clothes. Take this chance and you’ll both feel better and look better, you handsome beast!
4. Hydrate – It’s extremely important to take few bottles of water and some nutricious sandwiches (eat your vegies!) in case you won’t have time to buy lunch at the venue. There’s nothing worse than a starving and thirsty business developer trying to bring his thoughts together while presenting his company, speaking in a language that is not native for him.
5. Make notes – I don’t want to sound like an old, rusty, arrogant BD, who doesn’t remember where all the toilets at the venue have disappear, but believe me, when it comes to details at all those meeting you’ll be having, age doesn’t matter – if you take notes, even write down some small details, some of them funny or insignificant at first sight, you’ll notice that it will be so much easier writing follow ups. Just switching business cards might not be enough, my experience tells me. Also, keep track of your communication record after the event. Start a Google Sheet with dates and important information regarding follow-ups and post – follow-up communication. You’ll always know the status of affairs with particular business partner and making reports for the board will be so much easier and less time consuming.
There you go – five most important advice on how to survive a business event. Next time I’ll dig dipper into preparations for fairs, especially when your company aims to present your project to players, other members of the industry, investors and business developers.
For now, I’ll be happy to read your comments regarding pieces of advice useful for industry events survival guide, please share your experiences!
And in the end, a senseless motivational quote for today: “Don’t Let Yesterday Take Up Too Much Of Today.” I have no idea what Will Rogers is trying to say, but sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? 🙂
See you next time!
Jacek @ iFun4all