From networking mixers to industry trade shows, SHIFT understands the power of offline engagement (no really, we do). Just as there are two sides to every story, there are also two sides to every event. As PR people, we often get to experience them both – from an attendee/exhibitor-perspective and a conference-perspective. In the past six months, I’ve worked both sides of two very large events and am here to share my tips and tricks for how to not only survive but actually rock whatever role you’re in/event you’re at.
- Be nice. Sure, this one seems pretty straight forward but it’s an easy one to forget with the long hours that accompany most events. Whether you’re representing a client at an event or you’re doing PR for an event, remember that everyone is under a lot of pressure to get the most out of their time (and money). Smile, be courteous and take potentially unpleasant interactions with a grain of salt.
“Remember, it’s just a job – nothing personal.” – Famous quote from a famous movie that is R-rated, so I won’t link it. (Okay, it’s Roadhouse. YouTube the ‘be nice’ scene for more.)
- Be prepared. This one might seem like another obvious pointer but it’s more-so rooted in what to do when you’re not prepared (stay with me). Sometimes you’re so hyper focused on your responsibilities that you might not know the answer to a question that’s outside of our wheelhouse. And that’s okay! If you don’t know an answer, be honest – just be prepared to point the inquisitor in the right direction.
- Keep notes. What worked? What didn’t? Did you receive any kudos you’d like to bring back to your manger? Pick up on any messaging you think would make a great proactive pitch? A lot goes down at events, so it’s important to keep track of the little interactions that happen along the way.
- Feel like you’re all alone. You may be the only one from your team at the event, but that doesn’t mean you’re not supported. Tap your team if (read: when) you’re feeling overwhelmed or could use additional input/backing.
- Be glued to your phone. This can be tricky if you’re helping run your client’s social accounts while at an event, but keep the personal texting/Snapchatting/Facebooking to a minimum. Instead, take a look around. Really listen to what people are saying. How can you use what you’re taking in to make your client’s experience, or the event itself, better?
- Gossip/get drunk/take long lunches, etc.: When attending an event, especially one in a different city than you live/work, it can sometimes feel like you’re on a mini-vacation. You’re not. While it’s important to decompress after hours and enjoy your time, you must always be your best representative. After all, you never know who may be around you or listening.
Representing an event, or a client at an event, is a big responsibility. You’ll have lots of opportunities to either make or break the experience, but as long as you’re keeping tabs on some of the major do’s and don’ts you’ll do great. Any other event do’s/don’ts you recommend? Let us know in the comments!
Senior Account Executive