If it’s your first time attending TBEX, you are perhaps overwhelmed and frankly a little bit scared. Well, not to worry, here are nine tips to get you prepared for TBEX Stockholm. These should suffice until I see you for the my TBEX for First Timers Talk on Day 1 of the conference:
- Get business cards made. So there are many schools of thought about this and here’s my take on it. Get full size cards. Yes, the little ones are cute, but they get lost when you give them to someone since they are not the same size as the regular ones. They also don’t have enough space on which to write notes about you, not to mention your own information. Yes, at conferences you meet a lot of people so it’s a good habit to make notes on the back of the card, so we can remember you. Also, ensure that you get matte finish as opposed to glossy since you can’t write anything on the back of the glossy ones very easily. Being practical works here; you can be cute later.
- Get your elevator pitch ready. You’ll have a short amount of time to introduce yourself, especially at the speed dating sessions. So develop your introduction that’s succinct. It should be in this format. “I help <your audience> to <what do you do for them> by <how do you help them>. Develop it. Practice it.
- Attend the pre-TBEX tours if possible. These will help you to build your familiarity base before the conference starts. It will help to remove that “I’m all alone and I don’t know anyone” feeling you get when you attend a conference for the first time. While on those tours, make friends and be genuinely you; don’t try to impress anyone with your brilliance. If you can also get on a post-TBEX Fam Trip that’s a good idea as well. These trips further cement relationships. I’ll tell you, many of my travel blogger colleagues, now friends, are as a direct result of meeting them on these trips. And if for some reason, you cannot make a trip you’ve already accepted, please, please, cancel beforehand so others can enjoy them too.
- Dress to convey the image you want people to have of you. We are humans and some of us judge each other by appearance. We should not, but we do. I met a lady in a hotel shuttle van once and we got to talking. She told me that she has to ensure that she wears a nice pair of shoes for her talks as she used to get comments like “your talk was great, but those shoes!” And think about it. If I don’t know you, I have no other way to size you up the first time I meet you. You don’t have to wear a suit, unless that’s the image you want to convey, but be clean, respectable and well put together. Don’t look like you just got up with a hangover. Not cool at all. You may not think of it this way, but you are on a job interview at TBEX. Your peers may need partners to work with the same way as brands do. So always be on!
- Attend the opening party, but don’t get drunk. You came to learn and network not to drink yourself silly. I mean that in the nicest way. If you get wasted the night before, how will you be able to impress prospects the next day. So party responsibly.
- Say hello to everyone you meet on your journey. Someone attending the conference may be on your train, bus, plane, etc. But you’ll never know unless you say hello. I’ve met the tourism Attaché to a Caribbean Island on my way to World Travel Market one year as she had issues with her phone and I helped her; I had a great conversation with a PR rep for the hotel I was staying in while in Minnesota, although I did not know it at the time, so be courteous and say hello on your journey. Say hello to the person sitting next to you at the morning keynote at the start of Day 1. This is really key and if you ignore everything I say, don’t ignore this one.
- Listen. And listen to what the person with whom you are speaking is not saying. This is how you can ask questions and learn more. Let the conversation be about the other person rather than you.
- Don’t be mean. If someone is mean to you during a conversation, don’t return the favor. As a matter of fact, do the opposite. It will dump halon on the fire and cool it all down quickly. It takes less energy to not be mean; try it.
- Come to the TBEX First Timer Session. I know there will be other sessions during this timeframe, but the first timers session is designed just for you. It’s TBEX’s way of ensuring you have a great first experience. And if this is not your first time at a TBEX, but you’re not sure how to make the most of it, of course you are welcome too. I’m looking forward to meeting you all very soon. I promise I’ll make it fun for all of us in attendance.
See you in Stockholm on Day 1 after the keynote, I’ll continue our talk on how to make the most of TBEX Stockholm. This is going to be great!
Author bio: Kerwin McKenzie logs over 200,000 miles a year writing up-to-date airport, destination and ground transportation guides, plus airline flight and hotel reviews. He’s visited 114 countries and flown 162 airlines with a mission to motivate airline employees to use their travel benefits. He also provides information on the benefits of being loyal to travel brands to a general audience.