The booth is ready, business cards are printed, and everyone is on their way to the venue. You’re ready to dominate this conference. You know that this time, your brand is going to make a massive impact.
Then you step into the conference venue, instantly becoming one of the thousands. Everyone came here with the same idea. The hope of standing out quickly fades.
We’ve all been there before. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to get noticed at conferences, and some of them are even easy enough to do on the flight over.
Here are three ways to stand out from the crowds at any event:
Become a Storyteller
The better you tell your story, the more people will listen. It seems simple, but many conference-goers do not focus on how to convey the story of what it is they’re trying to do. It’s crucial to define your story, align with everyone you are attending the conference with, and then practice, practice, practice your elevator pitches. Americans have mastered this art of storytelling – bold, expressive, and inviting. They know how to not only put on a show but how to get their message across in an (often) genuine and memorable way. Conference-goers, who most likely talk to hundreds of people over the course of a few days – have gotten pretty good at sniffing out ingenuity, so make sure the stories you are telling are captivating but honest.
At your booth, you should all be communicating one thing only: brand purpose. If you want people to remember you and your brand, you need to communicate your purpose creatively. It’s fascinating how something as simple as a colorful bouncy ball or a fresh cookie at your booth can achieve this. It can be used as a tool for conversation which may perhaps even turn into opportunities. It’s surprising how, over the years, many things have changed in the booths – from digital signage to lighting – but the goodies (let’s say ‘swag’) have stayed. In any case, it opens the door to human connection. This ‘swag’ perpetuates your story – people will ask, where did you get it? What is the story behind it? By creatively engaging your audience, you are inevitably paving the way to forming unique relationships and allowing your brand story to tell itself.
Embrace the Openness
Gone are the stuffy conferences with tightly packed agendas full of pre-booked meetings and scripted conversations. No more are single-entry booths trying desperately to track and monitor every visitor. Traditional conferences are dead (read more on why here). SaaS and scale-up events are the first of their kind to embrace the free movement of people and ideas – so let’s follow the lead and do everything in our power to keep events this way. Don’t stand around waiting for someone to ask a question – start telling your story to anyone and everyone that will listen. Have discussions in between presentations, in the meeting rooms, during lunch, and at drinks – always be open for business. This natural human approach leads to fantastic conversations and countless networking opportunities and will get people to stop and talk to you at any event.