It’s July 2021 and I’m typing this in my home office, a place that I’ve hardly been out of for quite some time.
My daily routine involves walking to the kitchen and back several times a day to make some fresh tea (though other hot beverages are also available). I'm sure lots of people reading this can relate.
The last in-person event I attended was the CompTIA UK Business of Tech community meeting in Manchester, back in March 2020.
This in itself was a strange event as the shadow of Covid was looming large, but we couldn't have possibly known how serious it would get not too long after. I am certain that nobody in the room would have complained about the odd sandwich selection or terrible tea if they knew this would be their last in-person event for a while.
The good news though is that events are gradually coming back, and as we are planning to attend some in-person events in the US and Europe this year, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some tips I’ve learned over the years on how to make the most out of these events.
1. Bring an extra layer
It’s a universal truth that regardless of the weather outside, the event halls will have the air-conditioning set for either “winter night in Siberia” or “summer day in Vegas”. They don’t seem to have anything in between. Dress comfortably so you can stay cool, but don’t forget to bring an extra layer just in case it gets cold.
2. Position your badge
Maybe less of a general tip and more of a personal plea, but if your badge only displays your name on one side, please try to keep it facing the front. And if there are any event organizers reading this: would it really be so hard to print it on both sides?
3. Carry business cards
These have always been very handy to have on you. Will people still want to exchange these in a not-entirely-post-pandemic 2021? I’m not sure, but it’s worth having a pocket full of them to drop into the prize draw containers.
4. Enter the draws
I get it. You have enough Echo Dots already and you don’t need more headphones. But you may as well have a go. You can always give it to a colleague if you win, and believe me people always win. Vendors don’t want to deal with the hassle of hauling the prizes all the way back with them.
5. Speak to vendors
Trust me on this one, go and speak to the vendors in the room. They're usually just standing on the sidelines as you try to eat your lunch while balancing your water bottle, laptop, and notebook. When you finish eating, go and say hello. They will be super pleased to see you and you never know, they may have something at their booth that could help your MSP. If not, you might just get a free t-shirt, so what is there to lose?
6. Enjoy yourselves
I guess this would have to be the main tip. We are all lucky to work in such a great part of the IT industry. The MSP community is like no other, so embrace it. Speak to your peers, get the vendors to buy you a drink, have a laugh, and be thankful we can do all of this again.
I can’t wait to see everyone at the next event I attend. This includes partners and prospective partners of course, but also all of my friends who work at other vendors. It will be amazing to catch up, or if you follow these tips, perhaps even meet for the first time. See you all there.