Digital Signage Expo (DSE) is a very productive way to gain education, get an update on industry perspectives, trends and best practices, and connect with industry providers and to network with other delegates focused on digital signage and place-based media. It is especially productive when you fully plan your participation to maximize your benefits in advance.
Here are some ways to plan your DSE experience and maximize the return on your time and investment, based on my having attended all the past dozen DSE events and many other large conventions.
As soon as you are confirmed to travel and attend, register and start your planning.
Write down why you are attending and what you expect to bring home to your office and colleagues. Use these points to create your one-to-two-sentence introduction that you will use often at DSE. Mine is, “As an advisor to end users that are planning, expanding or optimizing their use of digital signage, I am listening for best practices and keeping up to date on technology and supplier capabilities.“
Review the education sessions, and register for those most suited to your needs. Presenters spend a lot of time preparing the sessions they will deliver, so take advantage of their having been selected to present, their planning and experience. The presenter’s distinction of Distinguished or Recognized Faculty is based on their having received very high delegate scoring in past DSE presentations. Register for sessions as soon as possible because many will sell out quickly. Registering in advance will minimize your time at badge pick-up.
When education and keynote sessions as well as networking receptions are on your plan, visit the Exhibitor List and determine if each is a priority A (must visit), B (plan to drop by) or C (as time allows). Send an email to request an appointment using the online form, and download vendor materials in advance.
Set up face-to-face meetings in advance related to your prime objectives. You might even connect with people by telephone in advance of DSE17 to best use your time on site.
Fill in the education and meeting gaps with “bio-breaks.” This includes eating, email and office breaks, family contact time, stretching and fresh air, etc. Build how and when you will travel while in Las Vegas into your plan. Cab lines can get long at peak travel times.
Bring business cards. You will need at least 100. Some people also pack lip balm and skin moisturizer depending on how long they will be staying in the dry climate of Las Vegas.
During DSE, arrive early and plan to work late, maximizing your time with delegates who can be helpful to you.
Carry your event itinerary/agenda with you, and pack extra copies.
Follow your planned agenda for the day, making your way swiftly from one agenda item to the next. At DSE, things start on time and stick to schedule. Exhibitors are typically booked in back-to-back meetings, so arrive on time.
Start conversations with a handshake or bump, and offer your introduction. Don’t be reluctant to look at someone’s nametag and to show yours, since you are there to gain insights that others can offer. A question like “How do you fit into all this?” or “What are you looking to get from DSE?” will get you connected. It is too expensive a time to discuss your favorite sports team or the weather. Talk digital signage.
The handshake and business card exchange in an initial conversation will be enough that you can follow up after DSE, so minimize the length of your conversations, allowing you to connect and meet with more people. Agree on specific actions after the event such as email or telephone follow-up to continue conversations with people, and write it down.
Plan to get education presentations when these are offered. Session presenters at DSE are as busy as others, so ask your questions when invited (rather than after the presentation). Email the presenter to connect and ask for clarifications if needed. They will be delighted to hear from you.
The DSE event can be extremely productive for you, and the time that you spend planning your participation and your discipline in sticking to your detailed participation plan will maximize the value you get. Do a detailed plan and stick to it.
For additional planning and assistance with navigating the show, please check out our DSE 2017 Mobile App Tutorials here.