The NAB Survival Guide: Trade Show Cliffnotes

News Apr 03, 2012 at 03:14 PM

If you’re an NAB newbie, you may be expecting to research a new camera or piece of equipment, maybe event catch a few sessions to learn new skills, tips & tricks. However, once you get there, you will quickly realize there is so much to do, and truly not enough time to do it all. With 1,500+ companies spread over 745,000 net square feet and more than 500 skill-building sessions, it’s more important than ever to manage your time at the show to take advantage of every business building opportunity.

NAB FloorDan Warvi of Toolfarm Government Sales put this NAB Survival Guide on his blog and asked me to repost. Enjoy!

If you’re an NAB newbie, you may be expecting to research a new camera or piece of equipment, maybe event catch a few sessions to learn new skills, tips & tricks. However, once you get there, you will quickly realize there is so much to do, and truly not enough time to do it all. With 1,500+ companies spread over 745,000 net square feet and more than 500 skill-building sessions, it’s more important than ever to manage your time at the show to take advantage of every business building opportunity.

*Why should you listen to us?

Let’s just say this isn’t our first NAB Rodeo. And we are certainly not ‘bandwagon’ fans - we have not missed a single year of the broadcast industry’s largest trade show since ProductionHUB started in ’98.

Hence the creation of our first-ever NAB Survival Guide: so you can make the most of your time at the show (and come back from Vegas even more industry savvy than when you arrived).

*Don’t Get ‘Social’ Anxiety: Plan Early

There may be a new #hashtag trending topic everywhere you turn, but try not to get overwhelmed. Know the important ones and plan your social [media] calendar in advance, so you are less stressed about it when at the show. Make sure you are following the handles of your favorite companies / speakers prior to attending as well.

If your company is taking video or covering the event editorially, make sure to take exorbitant amounts of b-roll and notes - just in case. It’s better to have too much (than too little) information. Do what you can every night to break up the work so it’s not stressful when you get back to the office / set.

The at-a-glance floor plan in your event program guide is key, and you can even get the NAB 2012 App on your phone.

*Conference Quick links:

Broadcast Engineering Conference

HD Radio 101

Broadcast Management Conference

Cloud Computing Conference

Disruptive Media Conference

Military & Government Summit

Technology Summit on Cinema

*Dress for Show Success

You may have even worn your nice Vegas loafers. However, once you step foot into the Las Vegas Convention Center, all bets are off. Just one day at the convention, and you be begging a family member to overnight your most comfy shoes so you can gently slide them on over your already blistered toesies.

Also, to put it mildly it’s freezing in there. If you bring in an ice-filled soda, it might not even get watered down by lunchtime. So, bring a light sweater or keep your suit jacket handy. During the peak hours in the expo, the body warmth from people levels everything out, but if you are in the sessions, definitely bring something with you so you can concentrate on the session itself (and not just scribbling notes furiously to keep body temp up).

Pockets are your best friend. Even if you are an exhibitor with lead scanners, and think you will never see a business card again - trust me, you will. And, more importantly, you’ll want your important belongings on you at all times. Ladies, leave the Chihuahua-sized purses in the room (it will get unbearably heavy and you will end up leaving it with co-worker at booth anyway, and you may miss your one opportunity to refuel on caffeine on way back from a session).

When attending the expo, roll bags and backpacks are the way to go you will get so much stuff thrown at you, so make sure you have somewhere reliable and comfortable to store it so you have time to peruse through everything later.

One last tip: the contrast from walking hours in the trade show to opening the coveted doors to the outside can be brutal make sure you keep your sunglasses handy, especially if you have them on a lanyard / strap.

NAB Show Graphic

*Don’t Double Down on Empty Calories

The days are long and you will need every nutritional advantage to stay alert and energized. Stay hydrated, keep trail mix or banana handy and to stay away from the heavy lunches so you aren’t dragging to your afternoon meeting. There’s a sandwich shop in the adjoining hotel The Las Vegas Hilton that will be a lot quicker (and yummier) than the convention cafeteria. Also, the best place to get coffee is NOT in the trade show lobby or even hotel lobby: it’s the hallway kiosk from the hotel to the convention center.

Obviously there will be no shortage of fine dining to choose from at night, but here’s a helpful link in case you need help sorting through the massive list of restaurants. Of course your concierge can also help figure out the best places based on your budget and taste. Just make sure you make reservations early!

Also, while it may seem every hour is happy hour between the casinos and the show floor, try not to stay out all night or drink too much. Your future self (from the next day) will thank you.

*Connect with Clients (Old & New)

Show your advertisers or clients some love, whether that means taking them to a show, doing a group dinner or even staying an extra day before or after the show to unwind. If they are having an event, do your best to try and stop by to support.

These face-to-face opportunities to connect with clients come by less and less often with today’s meeting technologies you may get more relationship building done in one laid-back social setting than you would via email and conference call all year long.

Speaking of, here are a few events we definitely plan on attending:

*As always, the Sony Creative Software User Event: this year’s theme is “Wildly Creative” (Mon., 4/16)

*The 11th Annual Supermeet by the Creative Pro User Group Network (Tues., 4/17)

*New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards will honor Geoffrey Mason with the NYF Television & Film Awards 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 awards ceremony (Tues., 4/17)

*Prepare Yourself to Talk to Lots of People

This means not only mentally preparing yourself, but finding the perfect balancing act between the need for early morning coffee and the inevitable outcome of coffee breath. Bring mints!

If you are an attendee, you will probably get so many business cards, you will need to dump out your bag / badge holder and start fresh the next day. To keep your favorite leads together, perhaps let everybody scan your badge and only keep paper copies of ones you need to write follow up notes on or better yet, keep your post-show action items running in one of the many phone task apps.

If you are an exhibitor, and you are using a lead scanner, make sure to use the ‘sort’ / classifying tools to make sure you are putting the people you meet into the right follow-up sections. You do not want to accidentally send a generic post-show promotion to an existing advertiser or partner!

Also, get familiar with the lay of the land before the floor show floodgate opens. When people ask you where the restrooms are or where certain key events / major neighbors are, you never want to say, I don’t know.

Always ask questions and find out what they do and why they came to the show. They may not even need your services now, but they may know a few people who do, and are more likely to pass on info to people that are friendly, genuine and interested. Stay open-minded and in the networking mind-set the entire time - sometimes the most valuable contacts are unplanned, like in line at the cafeteria or the hallway massage chair area (highly recommend, by the way!).

*Bottom line: if you go in to NAB without planning or scheduling and proper prioritization & planning, we promise you will be overwhelmed and under-satisfied. Just like you would on any TV, corporate or pro video project: the more time you spend in prep, the better the experience & outcome will be.

 

Posted by Michele Yamazaki

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