Editor’s note: Big THANK YOU to Antonio Centeno, one of our NMX 2014 speakers, for writing this guide to NMX based on his past experiences. Feel free to add your own tips with a comment below. Are you new to NMX? We’ll be having a New Attendee Orientation on Saturday for everyone who wants to learn more about getting the most out of NMX.
New Media Expo 2014 is only two weeks away.
Are you ready to get the most out of it?
If you’ve got a business that you’re hoping to promote or attract interest to while you’re at the New Media Expo, start the groundwork immediately. Don’t wait until the last minute — start you preparation now, so that by January you’re way ahead of the game.
1. Craft Your Elevator Pitch
Just what do you have to offer that other people at NMX will want to hear about?
Whatever it is, learn to say it in 30 seconds. Yeah – you want to keep it short and to the point. Your “elevator pitch” is a quick summary to quickly determine if people are interested in hearing more or not. It’s not your life story!
These are the pieces I include in mine:
- A statement of a problem that the person you’re meeting will agree with and clearly understand
- How you solve that problem
Hi, I’m Antonio. You know how most men have no clue when it comes to dressing sharp?
Most people at this point agree – in fact they often state they have this problem themselves or their husband/brother/boyfriend does.
Well, I help men dress better by creating practical videos and articles that show them why style matters. I use Science and my background as a former US Marine to show men how a strong personal presentation can help them achieve more both professionally and personally.
This type of pitch is VERY effective because it involves the person you just spoke with and therefore is much more memorable. They may not need my services – but they’ll remember me and that makes me very referable.
Don’t try to improvise; practice your pitch ahead of time and then write it down. Rehearse it and make small improvements here or there depending on people’s reactions and what naturally feels right to you during delivery.
Remember that an active networker is going to meet upwards of fifty people each day at NMX. Develop a pitch that gives them something to remember you by. You want to look professional, practiced, and referable — someone who can’t help you personally may know someone else who’d be interested in hearing your pitch, if it’s a good, memorable pitch.
And yes, hand ’em your business card after you’ve properly introduced yourself and ALWAYS ask them about their business/reason for being there.
2. Dress Sharp
Most of the businesses represented at NMX are online businesses. The people behind them might only have one or two face-to-face meetings with their customers every year.
That means that you’ve only got one or two opportunities to fix an image in people’s minds that goes with your brand name.
Don’t believe the line that the tech industry doesn’t care about appearances. Entrepreneurs may not care if you wear a tie or not, but how we dress matters. This is especially true when we’re meeting people for the first time – we’re human beings, and we take mental shortcuts and classify others based off how they appear.
For men – dark jeans and a classic sports jacket work well; so do light gray slacks and a blazer if you want to look a little more conservative. At the very least wear a crisply ironed dress shirt with grey/navy/khaki slacks and dress shoes.
For the ladies – dress in a manner that befits the message you’re looking to send. Are you and up and coming professional looking to raise awareness of your social media firm? Keep the jewelry and accessories to a minimum but spice up the black suit with a pair of fun shoes. Skirts are perfect for Vegas, but bring two pairs of leggings (just in case) and if you’re wearing heels consider a change of flats for the second part of the day (you’ll be walking a lot).
Take the time to think about the image you want to project — and to find the clothes that do it.
3. Use a Packing List
Don’t rely on memory the night before the Expo. Pack from a list, not from your head.
It only takes one small slip-up to sabotage yourself. Forgetting your business cards or the power cord for your phone or laptop can result in, at best, an added delay and inconvenience while you run around Las Vegas searching for a replacement — and at worst, could result in you meeting less people, or leaving a worse impression with the people you do meet.
Create a list for yourself that includes everything you’re going to need:
- clothing for the full three days — plan specific outfits and pack them!
- electronics — your phone, your laptop, and all the peripherals
- analog networking tools — business cards, pens, and a small notebook
- travel supplies — snacks, a book, whatever
Make a list for yourself. Don’t rely on someone else’s pre-printed checklist (their needs might not be the same as yours), and don’t try to pack without a list. Jet pilots and astronauts use long, detailed checklists for a reason — and so should you.
4. Research Other Guests
Is there someone at NMX that you specifically want to talk to?
Check the schedule ahead of time to see who you’re interested in. Then spend time browsing their websites, checking them out on Twitter and Facebook, and so on, learning how they like to do business and interact with fans or customers.
If you’re hoping to approach a speaker, remember that right after their speech or presentation is the worst possible time to do it. They’re going to be tired, and they’ll be swamped with 15 other people vying for their time.
A better tactic is to build a relationship ahead of time. Comment on their posts. Interact with them on Twitter or Facebook. Build an online friendship – then mention you’ll be at NMX and leverage this warm online relationship into a real face-to-face one.
If you can’t get in touch with the person you’re interested in, see who they are talking to — it might be easier for you to connect with their inner circle. Form real friendships, and they’ll help get you in touch at a later date.
5. Schedule and Prioritize
What are the most important things for you to get out of the conference?
There are probably two or three presentations that are really important to you, but most of the value lies in meetings and chat. Spend a little extra cash to get the presentation recordings if you’re really interested in them. Plan on spending the rest of your time meeting and greeting – this is the part of NMX that can’t be done except in Vegas!
Also, leave plenty of flex time for impromptu meetings and try to schedule some sit-downs with the people you’re most interested in. They’ll remember a planned meeting that they set time aside for more than an elevator pitch with a total stranger.
In conclusion – spending a few hours planning your NMX trip is going to have a very high return on investment. You’re spending quite a bit of time and money to attend – get the most bang out of your buck by showing up prepared for success.