Medical device and MedTech insights, news, tips and more
Official Tradeshow Tips and Checklists: Supercharge Your Networking
March 16, 2017
Legacy MedSearch is on the move, traveling to 12 conferences in the next few weeks, having come off two trade shows (HIMSS, Southern Neurosurgery. This week brings ACC (Cardiovascular) in Washington, DC and AAOS (Orthopedics) in San Diego.
Tradeshows are one of the best outlets to network and expose yourself to the industry heavy hitters. Besides networking, a tradeshow is an advantageous opportunity to bring yourself up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends current or up-and-coming in your industry. A tradeshow or industry convention schedule should be a staple in any professional’s work life, both for expanding reach for their current companies and for establishing, growing, or maintaining resources for the future.
Here are a few Tidbits, Tips, and Thoughts from the “Tradeshow-Going-Gurus” at Legacy MedSearch to supercharge your next conference.
There is nothing more engaging than face-to-face contact when networking. A tradeshow provides you the best environment to stay top of mind with numerous face-to-face meetings in a short period of time. Seeing old industry friends and acquaintances is fun and energizing, and likewise making new acquaintances expands your network. Even a handshake can be an opportunity to start or renew a relationship, affording your contact to associate a face-to-name in the future.
Tip – Conference App Preparation
Download the official conference app early! Most conferences are very SoMe (Social Media) oriented with hashtags for Twitter, conference planning and even scheduling options for meeting with people. At #HIMSS17, there was even a GPS option to help route you to a meeting or exhibit booth in the large exhibition hall. Other conferences have APIs (the software that connects different apps) to pull up a person’s LinkedIn profile, so you will know the face you are looking for in a sea of people.
For $1,000 you could have 30 or more face-to-face encounters and meetings to explore strategic alliances for your companies, gain competitive information, learn about numerous job openings, and gain access to the latest news and information on what’s current in your industry, see and network with previous customers, and even have a little fun! You may even find yourself on the path to a new job or two.
Tip – Group Dinner to have your contacts intermingle
Plan a group dinner for your contacts at least one night. As President of a recruiting firm that places high-level executives, I set at least one dinner (or drinks) for my CEOs, VCs, or other executives to introduce them to each other in a social context. Business is seldom discussed, but it is fun and interesting to see how my friends who are running medical device companies enjoy meeting each other and swapping stories. Even better, it is gratifying to be the impetus for several friendships that have ensued these casual get-togethers.
Contact Preparation Checklist – To be implemented and completed several Weeks in advance:
1. Targeting step one – People and Companies you know well.
- On a spreadsheet, create a list of people whom you believe will attend the conference. Prioritize your list as to those with the most influence in the market and those who maintain the most contacts. These are the people who know about job openings;
- Start reaching out to your list of attendees to inform them you will be at the show;
- Offer to schedule a real meeting – coffee, breakfast or lunch. Have a reason to ask for the meeting: “You want their feedback on the exciting trends in the industry”;
- At a minimum, schedule a short visit at their exhibit.
2. Targeting step two – People and Companies you may not know well, but want to meet.
- Visit the trade show website and review all the exhibitors that are scheduled to attend. If the current year list is not available yet, look at the past year. This exercise will remind you of people whom you are acquainted with, and provide ideas of the people whom you would like to meet;
- Visit select company websites to get information on the primary attending managers.
Logistics Checklist – To be implemented and completed several Months in advance (To Save Money!):
- Find and book a Hotel room in advance. Use a hotel/flight/car bundle service like Hotwire or Expedia to take advantage of major discounts, especially when booking well in advance;
- If you are unemployed, make yourself business cards. You can have tailored, double sided cards created and printed upon walk-in at your nearest Staples, or use VistaPrint to print 200 cards on professional stock for less than $20. Use a generic title “Medical Device Executive” or “R&D Engineer” and make sure you have included all contact information.
- Contact a friend at a company who can attain you an Admission Badge; or better yet, buy a badge with your name on it.
Finally, if you’re coming to ANY of the shows we are – don’t forget to connect face to face!
Paula Rutledge | President, Legacy MedSearch
Newill, Ted. “Medical Device Success- Ideas You Can Put to Work Today! Medical Device Success. Medical Device Success Blog, 29 Jan 2014. http://www.medicaldevicesuccess.com/. Accessed 8 July 2015.