These days there are more tech-events, trade shows and exhibitions than copies of the book the Lean Startup. All around the world, from Silicon Valley and Berlin to Singapore and Sydney these events connect you with the startup ecosystem. From the big boys at SXSW and SLUSH, to sector specific EdTechXEurope and BlueTech Forum. It’s the place where industry idols dominate the stage and inter-continental deals are struck. Participating in such an event should leave you energized and full of leads and ideas that accelerate your startup further. However, we often encounter participants who leave empty handed and overwhelmed. To make the fullest out of these tech-events it is important to arrive well prepared. You need to know why you are participating and who you want to speak. And if you do get to speak to that one ultimate investor, you need to be able to spit out your pitch like Eminem on stage.
There are several reasons why these events will benefit your business. With the plethora of events on offer, make sure to have your motivations clear, it makes picking easier. If you know why to go, prepare accordingly.
Tech events can be amazing opportunities to showcase your innovation and connect to potential customers and investors. In his blog Tim Ferriss explains the strategy of “Yes To”, which is a must-read if you are going to have a booth at the event. When selling, with or without booth it is tremendously important to:
- Know who you want to sell to. Identify your big-shots and target them at the convention.
- When you get to speak to those guys, make absolutely sure you know the ins and outs of your company. This sounds obvious but all too many times we encounter startups that don’t have their pitch 200% prepared, don’t know how a new foreign customer can get involved with their product or how much funding they exactly want from an investor.
- By participating actively with social media, you will create awareness for you brand by being part of the conference buzz.
When you visit the right event, you meet like-minded individuals such as founders and innovators. You have a chance to meet experts and influencers face to face. Networking is great, but it’s even better to do it organized.
- Which influencer do you want to wow? Will there be other founders who inspire you? Ask yourself these questions and know who you want to meet and why. Attendees list are a great source, make sure to go through those beforehand when you have time to investigate profiles on Linked-In for example.
- You can even plan how you will meet them, as big events have plenty of speed-dating, meet-ups, lounges and parties. These are great opportunities to meet people. Don’t shy away at the cocktail party, go have fun and connect. But remember: parties are for connecting not for doing business.
- Keep your eyes open and your spirits high for spontaneous encounters and note down details.
- Professional development
At tech-events you are updated with the latest tools for startups. By following the workshops, you get a chance to try them out and start implementing them from the get-go. By listening to the experience of other founders and experts you enrich your knowledge and receive new tips and tactics. Again, planning is crucial as events grow so big you can only join a percentage of the action. Prepare by studying the schedule and create your perfect agenda. But be prepared to deviate from it when networking opportunities arise)
- Personal development
Attending a tech event will give you new valuable, insights. The energy of meeting like-minded individuals is refreshing and will resonate back in the office. It’s important to keep enriching yourself through these activities. In order to achieve this you need to get out of your comfort zone. Try something new, be open for novel experiences and meetings. And most importantly, have fun while you’re there!
There are some tools that will help you maximize your efforts at the event.
MailChimp Subscribe lets you sign up people to your newsletter easily.
Use Livestream if you cannot attend, or for people back in the office.
PROsimity will you connect to delegates around you, it’s like Tinder for business.
Slido is great for audience interaction.
There are different tools that make networking at an event easier like Poken, Xfocus and Loopd. Check out which one is being used at your event.
Checklist Tech Events
Taking into account what we’ve described above, here are some boxes to check before you get on that plane and put on the lanyard.
You have prioritized…
- what you want to get out of this event
- who you want to meet
- which presentations to join
- which workshops to follow
You know your…
- products USP’s
- customers and ideal launching customer
- target countries
- how much investment you are looking for
You have your…
- slidedeck prepared
- 1 minute pitch practised to perfection
- (online) communication strategy prepared