Monday, June 04, 2007

19 ways to become the ONE person at the conference everyone remembers

(To watch a video of The Giant Nametag, click here!)

Just got back from my first ever BEA experience.

Here's what I learned:

1. Attitude. In a sea of thousands of people all trying to get noticed, you have NO choice but to be unforgettable and remarkable. So you better begin with the attitude of approachability. That you’re going to stick yourself out there.

2. Detach from outcomes. Sure, you have goals. Maybe to sell. Maybe to get in front of the right buyers. However, also try to focus less on the outcome and more on the big picture. Free yourself from agendas. Develop a no-entitlement attitude. And focus on having fun, delivering value and creating a memorable (er, unforgettable) presence. Because sometimes, when you care the least; you do the best.

3. Go beyond free. Every booth, vendor, exhibitor and company is going to give something away for free. So, before you attend the show, brainstorm a list of the Top 50 Most Common (and Annoying) Free Giveaways. Don’t do any of them. Instead, pick something cool, remarkable and consistent with your brand that people will actually KEEP. Otherwise, you may as well just tell the attendees, “Here, YOU throw this away!”

4. But don’t go overboard on free. You don’t have to give away something for free to EVERYBODY. If they don’t want it, don’t force it. REMEMBER: approachability is a two-way street. Consider offering a free item that’s so good, people actually come up to YOU and say, “Ooh! Can I have one of those?”

5. Smile. The whole damn time.

6. Wave. To every single person.

7. Use disarming approaches.
Six words: “Hi, I don’t know anybody here!”

8. Practice strategic serendipity.
Say yes a LOT more. Spend time with people in areas and around things you wouldn’t normally approach. Break your patterns.

9. Don’t pick and choose.
Talk to everybody. Even your non-buyers and customers. Even the food service people. Even the janitors. Even the information booth guy. Even the conference planners. Especially the conference planners. Because you never know. And consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.

10. Dress it up.
If you can find some sort of costume that’s consistent with your brand, do it. I wear a giant nametag to my conferences. Nobody misses me. Does your appearance stand out or blend in?

11. Achieve The HVA. Which stands for 1) “Huh?” 2) Value and 3) “Aha!” Attract people to yourself (or booth) with curiosity. Spark their interest. Then deliver your value statement. Then get them to say, “Ah! I get it! That’s cool…”

12. Speaking of curiosity. Do something that encourages strangers to approach you and say, “So, what’s the story behind that?”

13. Strike the match. Do something that make people say, “Dude, did you see that guy who…” Generate inner-conference buzz.

14. Make music, not noise. Everyone else at your conference is going to be making NOISE. With their annoying, boring promo materials and free toys that nobody wants or cares about. You need to make MUSIC by getting people to smile, laugh, say hello, start talking, have fun and deliver remarkable value.

15. Interact; don’t interrupt.
Everyone else at your conference is going to be INTERRUPTING the other attendees. Take this! See this! Have a free cookie! They say. Instead, consider INTERACTING, not interrupting people. Making friends. Strike up conversations. Talk about business later. Lead with your person; follow with your profession. Open your conversations with topics OTHER than business, sales, the weather, traffic and the like.

16. Just chill.
Stressed and hurried are not approachable adjectives. Separate yourself from other attendees by not appearing overly needy and desperate for business. After all, it’s hard to sell with your tongue hanging out! Just chill. Relax.

17. Attract attention.
Notice it says “attract,” and not “draw.” Major difference. Your job is to be remarkable and cool and fun and valuable. If so, people that see you will follow these six steps:

a. Smile and point at you.
b. Nod in agreement.
c. Think or say, “Nice!” or “That’s cool!”
d. Grab their friend’s shirt and say, “Jimmy, you’ve got to check out this guy over here…”
e. Approach you.
f. Tell everyone about you.

18. Find the cameras.
Photographers, press folks and bloggers LOVE to capture images and videos of cool, fun, remarkable stuff. They also like to share those images in their publications and on the web. So, ask yourself the following three questions:

a. Are you worth videotaping?
b. Are you worth taking a picture of?
c. Are you worth blogging about the next morning?

19. Be a rock star.
Do things to enhance your celebrity status. Bring a friend to follow YOU around with a camera all day. Give a speech. Hold a pre or post event party.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How do YOU become unforgettable at conferences?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Share your strategies here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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