My own experience, 20 years worth .. to get the most bang for your buck
ONE: study the show guide like you would a bible (it became our bible at these conferences). Circle or underline the classes you want to attend.. pick an alternative to each class, just in case the first one isn’t going the direction you thought. Make sure to split up to cover a few classes if you are two or more from same company… take notes to compare after.
TWO: Attend as many sessions as you can .. even the 7:00 am ones!!! DO NOT miss or skip a class, we are here to learn and soak up as much knowledge as possible! I cannot express this enough, play later or stay a few extra days.. but pay attention while at the conference, your business depends on it.
THREE: Take notes or pictures of the notes on the screens.. Catersource also has an app that is very handy, go over it and use it.. figure it out or ask for help using it. I only learned how to download it last year, it has a wealth of info on it. Look up the speakers bio and see if you’d like to attend their class.
FOUR: Whenever possible sit at different tables or chairs during breaks or meals and reach out to your fellow attendees. I have met so many different and interesting caterers and chefs .. not to mention making lifelong friends this way. If you can share a meal or a drink together it is even better, it cements the bond. Don’t get drunk and dance on the tables though.. just sayin..
FIVE: Bring business cards, change seats on your busses to sit with different people to and from the tradeshow, exchange your cards, it breaks the ice. While on the tradeshow floor bring your phone/camera and take a picture of the tradeshow booth or item that caught your eye and also take a picture of their card! You will be looking for their information later and voila.. it is in your phone.. trust me, you’ll thank me for this.
Above all else smile, we are all here for the same reason, we are all on a learning journey. That person sitting next to you or across from you may share an idea or something that they’ve done.. it added 10% to their profit margin across the board.. one thing! Yes it happened to me and its true. So smile.. reach out and enjoy the experience, soak up the knowledge, we are all here to learn and share.
oh.. one more thing, pack a lunch or throw something to eat into your bag or purse. Why oh why is it so hard to get something to eat at these conferences? Maybe Caesars will be different .. we’ll see.