Making the Most of the ANI
most from attending a conference like AAHAM’s ANI takes some homework to
maximize the many once-a-year opportunities offered to both exhibitors and attendees.
business development executives and they offer a wealth of suggestions and
remind us that it takes more than just showing up to make the most of this
time. Having the opportunity to meet
people face-to-face is priceless, but it’s important to have plans before you
Here are a
few tips to get the most bang for your registration buck:
the ANI information on the website and understand the agenda before
arriving. Highlight the sessions you
want to attend, when the exhibit hall is open and when the receptions are. Use the app for the latest information.
sessions to attend that offer education and/or speakers you want to hear. Consider their networking exposure too. There may be panelists you want to connect
with after their presentation or people in the audience or association you are
hoping to meet.
of a list of people who you want to meet and why they are of importance to you.
If you don’t have specific names of
individuals, review the attender list for exhibitors, speakers and other attendees.
your goals in attending and they will help you decide how to accomplish them.
If your goal is networking; be careful not to sit down. Stand in the halls and talk to people. Get to networking events early to meet as
many people as possible. You can even network
while waiting in the buffet lines or waiting for the elevator. Your existing contacts can introduce you to
others. Everyone is a potential contact and with this in mind, you can start
talking to everyone.
the exhibit hall, scope out exhibitors and learn what they do but take care to
respect people’s time. They want to meet
as many people as they can and it’s important to be aware of that as well.
your elevator speech. When talking with
someone before you expound on the benefits of doing business with you or what you
do, try to establish some common ground. Compliment them on clothing, their
presentation or ask about their booth. Effective
follow up is essential than thinking you’ll score a contract.
you meet someone, it’s important to continue the relationship after the
conference is over. You need to plan in
advance how you will reconnect, get their email address and use for personal
notes, check them out on LinkedIn and add them to your contacts. Follow up is essential.
wearing something that sets you apart, perhaps a wild, crazy tie for a man, an
interesting pair of glasses or piece of costume jewelry for a woman. People remember you as the person who stood
other attendees to join you at your table during one of the breakfasts or lunches. Exhibitors, consider host a small dinner by
inviting 6-8 people to share a meal. Be
prepared to pick up the check if you initiated the invitation, it is well worth
the expense. You’ll be surprised at how
much more effective your networking will be if you either attend a meal as
someone’s guest or host one.
in the present. It’s tempting to check
email messages while you are standing at an event; but save this for when you
are in your room. The reason you are
attending the ANI is to connect and it’s important to disconnect for a while
from your office.
I hope you
have a successful ANI and if the AAHAM staff can be of help in anyway, please
feel free to reach out to us.