Cutting Through the Noise: 3 Tips to Navigating a Mega-Conference

(By Mike Raftery)

We’re here live in Orlando, FL for the annual pilgrimage to ASUG Sapphire Now.  SCM Connections is growing up, and it’s our first year hosting a booth here.  We’ve done conferences before, and they are always a blast to attend and very productive for us as a group.  But the scope and noise at Sapphire is another level.  It’s hard to be heard above the din and it’s harder still for customers to find the right voice in the crowd.  But don’t worry and don’t give up.  Here’s what we’re trying and maybe it will work for you too.

  1. Get an Agenda

Get a plan; it’s easy to be overbooked.  Time does get away from you so make sure you have the sessions you want, find the exhibitors you want to talk to, and arrange drinks with long lost friends and colleagues.  Whatever you want to do, make a plan, because you don’t want to cram it all in at the end of the day.  It also allows for time dedicated to the subjects you need to know about.  Sapphire even has its own app which is great for creating and modifying an agenda on the fly.  Use it early and often.

  1. Jump on the Social Media Bandwagon

Work the phones!  The mobile device, with Twitter, Facebook and conference specific apps, is a great resource to find up-to-the-second updates on where to find information on your favorite topics.  Use the # and the twitter feed to follow trends and even ask fellow conference goers for recommendations.  It’s the best way to get a pulse of what’s going on and find out about what’s relevant for you.  We love social media; it’s free, nimble and direct.  Everything we love about getting the word out.  In a mega-conference, social media is essential to filter the noise down to a relevant conversation and social media is great for just that purpose.

  1. Ask around

Social media the old fashioned way.  Talk to people directly?  What a crazy concept!  The exhibitors have ways of starting conversations (we’re using espresso and chocolate).  I’ve seen roasted nuts, celebrity impersonators, tote bags, and the ever-present giveaway.  So start a conversation, ask for tips, grab some swag and just work the floor.  We exhibitors love talking to people, and what’s the worst that can happen?  You might learn about a niche that you never knew existed, and waste 30 seconds.  Not a big deal for something that might unlock a huge opportunity in the future.

So this may or may not work for you, but one thing is for certain: don’t just wander around aimlessly.  It’s rare for everyone in an industry to be this close and to cross pollinate ideas in person.  Take advantage, get out there and come home recharged with new ideas, new contacts and new paths for the future.

If you haven’t already, stop by our booth (#286B) for a live IBP demo: today: 2:00 & 3:00, Wednesday: 12:00, 2:00 & 4:00, and Thursday: 12:00.

Share the knowledge

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on email

Fresh supply chain knowledge delivered straight to your inbox

By signing up you agree to receive our quarterly newsletter