This series of articles is not for the faint of heart. It is for the s business minded conference goer. I am presenting it over three articles which cover pre-game prep, attitude, drinking culture, poison traps and a final article on how to set and crush your business goals.
When I say ‘the conference goer’ as stated, I don’t mean ‘just any’ conference goer. Not everyone approaches business in the same way as me and that is perfectly ok. From my perspective, this article is for the dedicated grinders that want to hit home runs, track, and iterate for the greater good of their business.
Pro Tip: Always be positive. Exude a positive charge.
2015 in iGaming is fast underway. Right about now, many iGaming industry workers are planning to hit London for the combined iGaming conferences. ICE and the London Affiliate Conference (LAC) to be precise.
I have been on this conference circuit myself for many years. My experience comes more on the affiliate conference side, specifically poker. These event are attended by operators that want traffic and conversions. So if you can send them traffic, go and meet them. I fully endorse attending these conferences and enjoy working them. The people running them are great. Alex Pratt and co are all very clever people and they put on a fabulous event time after time.
I won’t be going this year and was feeling nostalgic so I wanted to write about this. Companies and individuals invest considerable time and money at these conferences. It is hard to track that investment. I really hope this 3 part guide can be useful for some investors.
Conference Pre-game and Attitude.
7 Types of Pre-game Work
Don’t show up with no plan and end up winging it to endless pointless meetings and wild goose chases. These negative scenarios cost time and money. I believe in garbage in, garbage out when it comes to planning and execution.
How to Plan for Pre-game:
- Make a schedule. With everyone you would normally meet with and reach out to. Add people you don’t know and arrange more meetings. Scope strangers out on LinkedIn or via word of mouth and plan visits.
- Role play. Wrangle up some colleagues and run mock conference scenarios. Practice makes perfect. Pay extra attention to eye contact. Don’t be too rigid, have a bit of fun with it.
- Prepare documents / decks. These will be proposals, pitch decks, internal tracking and reporting documents. Maybe even contracts. Start working on them now.
- Scout. The floor plan and develop an overall strategy for each contact. Don’t be shy to talk to any single person.
- Elevator pitch. Like it or not, get ready for the folks you don’t know.
- Brand Evangelism. You are a representative for your brand, a brand you should love.
Make sure you are in full-on brand zealot mode before you go. Have a pep rally in your office if you have to.
- Do NOT free-style. Most of the room could be free-styling. I recommend to not take this approach.
Pro Tip: Utilize your internal CRM before, during and after.
This section focuses on the nebulas concept of attitude. Attitude is everywhere as you traverse social situations with important stakeholders. Be cognizant of it.
Energy. You want to go into these conferences like you have been shot out of a cannon. From my experience, the real pleasures to work with are the ones with the most energy. Heed some caution and don’t overdo it with the gravitas and come across as arrogant. Seen that before, no thanks.
Open Minded. As these events are part showcase, part business development, be prepared for some show. I thoroughly enjoyed the flash mob dancers a few years back. There has also been a Mr. T lookalike at the last few and many of the ‘meeting areas’ are built as mini-bars, complete with bartenders. David “The Hoff” Hasselhoff has been to the LAC. Expect the unexpected.
Be Calm and Carry on. You are in London so it will get expensive. Be ready for the pace of such a large pulsating city. It is away from home, away from your normal routine, which can be mentally draining. Keep your wits about you in the new surroundings and if you are brave, take a shot at using the tube.
Organized. Take a waiters pad and earnestly take notes. The pads are more practical than a chunky notebook or attaché case. If you have pitch decks to show off display them on a tablet computer.
Stay in the Now. Set time aside to escape and collect your thoughts. Re-read notes and send reports back to HQ for quick decision making throughout the event. Don’t take the mindset of the ‘after we get back report’ when the conference is over. Wasting valuable time here. Report early, often and when the dust settles.
Go Social. For personal branding, I recommend to do social media on the fly whilst a conference goer. Use hashtags relevant to the conference. Update, curate, and automate on twitter if you can. Follow people. See what they are doing. Have discussions. If you don’t believe in the power of social, then go to a few conversion conferences and see how they do it.
Pro Tip: Wear whatever you want without looking homeless. Nobody really cares. It is a small, focused industry. Everybody knows who everyone is already. It is about tech, marketing and gaming growth so let the numbers do the talking and save on dry-cleaning.
As you walk in those doors, brim with confidence. Have a strong scope statement ingrained on the brain. Be unrelentingly upbeat and a nexus for good things. Be this way and good things will happen.
Take time outs. Try to clump similar tasks together. Reduce your cognitive switching penalty and stay in the zone. Don’t over-compensate.
Champion your brand with zeal.
Hit home runs, track, and iterate.
In this next article I am discussing how to navigate the drinking culture that is prevalent and how to avoid poison traps which may harm your chances at success.