This morning I attended the executive committee meeting for the AMA chapter of Boston. The Boston chapter's executive committee meetings are typically held on Saturday mornings at a cafe or board member’s house. At each meeting we pick a topic to discuss, and team members pitch in to work together.
New England Business Xpo
Today’s project was the New England Business Xpo; AMA Boston is supporting this event to be held on May 19th 2009 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Over 10,000 people are expected to attend this free event on the theme of growing New England business.
The Boston chapter is supporting the event in a big way – a booth, eight seminars in two meeting rooms, three workshops and an evening social networking event.
Today’s meeting was very much in the weeds of event management. Decisions about ordering banners, the booth, sponsorship and volunteers. We talked about the details of the design for the booth including; plasma screens, computer stations and logo positions.
The discussion about the management of the Xpo is exactly why I joined the chapter; whether its booth management, social media, or CRM, as a member you get to see volunteers work on projects, learn from them and pick up professional skills and experience you might not have the opportunity to do so at your job.
Event Management Techniques
Bob Hackenson, Director of Membership for the chapter, runs a company that specializes in improving a company's event management techniques at a trade show. He gave us a demonstration of how to attract people to a booth.
Bob made the point that how you approach prospects at a trade show is very important, you have to invite them into your booth space as that will increase the chances of the prospect staying to learn more about your company.
Bob then surprised the group by conducting a card trick with Cecil Dorman and Myles Bristowe. Bob pretended to invite Myles into a booth and gave Myles one of his business cards; he then invited Cecil into the booth and asked him to pick a card from a deck of playing cards. He picked a card, and Bob asked Myles to turn over his business card, the name of the playing card was written on the business card. Bob suggested that the trick would be an opening to introduce the company’s booth.
I agree with Bob, waiting for trade show attendees to approach you is a recipe for disaster when it comes to booth tactics, be proactive, introduce yourself to passersby, and ask people if you can introduce your company.
Attendees go to a show to find vendors, get ideas and be entertained. Most people will smile and listen if you introduce yourself as they walk down the aisle. If you give a short pitch about what your company does and start asking questions, and the person is looking for your services they will most likely be okay with giving you their card or having their badge scanned.