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Have an ANI Game Plan

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• Have a game plan. It’s important to know what you want to accomplish in advance and if there are people you are trying to connect with. You can make these goals a reality if you have a plan.
Check out who is exhibiting and speaking. You want to make sure you can find their booth or session. By knowing who you want to meet; this will help you figure out how to find them.
• Know which booths in the exhibit hall are important to visit. Meet with your team before hand and see if anyone in your office is in need of special information from an exhibitor. You may want to set up a meeting in advance to meet some of these companies. Just walking the floor is less effective than planning out your strategy.
• Bring your materials. Just because you aren’t exhibiting; doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to provide valuable information on your company and services. Be sure to bring business cards. If you are attending the ANI for networking; a pen helps make notes on someone’s card before you return home and forget why you have their card.
• Be flexible with an alternative plan. If an appointment cancels; plan alternative options. You may want to visit with someone else at their booth or attend a different session. A back up plan makes use of all of your time.
• Mother’s advice to eat and take breaks is important at a conference. You need to be energized during the day and taking some breaks, resting your feet and drinking water all help in keeping your energy level up. And remember, wear comfortable shoes!
• Know what you need from someone. This is a great time to negotiate with your business partners if you know what you need. Company decision makers are at their booths; if you need something, now is a good time to ask.
• Plan how you will get the stuff home. It may be good to ask exhibitors to email you the materials that you are interested in. Brochures weigh down your suitcases and you don’t want to find yourself being charged for excess baggage. You also need to leave room for New Orleans mementoes (beads, boas and a box of pralines).
• Stay organized. Sort through and organize business cards each day. Don’t get back to the office and find business cards in every pocket. Sort out contacts and brochures. Review notes so you have organized your follow-up before you return to the office. I also find keeping your business cards in one pocket and the ones you collect in the other helps. You don’t want to give a new contact someone else’s card!
• Learn from others. Most AAHAM chapters will have representatives at ANI. These are perfect times to network and learn what other chapters are doing regarding events, member retention, newsletters, etc.
Travel safe and have a great ANI
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