Skip to: Main Content / Navigation

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Add This

What (not) to do this research conference season



Article ID:
20080825-3
Published:
August 2008
Author:
Quirk's Staff

Article Abstract

Based on Colleen A. Rickenbacher's books Be on Your Best Business Behavior and Be on Your Best Cultural Behavior, here are a few guidelines to follow to improve your experience at trade shows and conferences.

Editor's note: This article appeared in the August 27, 2008, edition of Quirk's e-newsletter.

Fall is typically a busy time for attendees of marketing research conferences. At their best, conferences, trade shows, seminars and meetings can be wonderful - and fun - learning experiences. To make the most of the events you attend, and to help you avoid any embarrassing, or even costly, mistakes, here are some guidelines from Colleen A. Rickenbacher, a business etiquette expert and author of the books Be on Your Best Business Behavior and Be on Your Best Cultural Behavior:

- Prior to attending the conference, do your homework and figure out whom you would like to meet and see over the next few days. Scan through the welcome packet and highlight any names of people you'd like to see. Upon arrival, make it your mission to network with the highlighted attendees.

- At networking events, don't come so hungry that you attack the bar and food area as soon as you arrive. Networking is the time to meet and greet, and then eat and drink. About a half hour before the opening reception, get a snack. Make it something light but filling, like an apple or a smoothie. The purpose of this event is to meet and greet people, which can be difficult when you're carrying a drink and a plate.

- If you are alone at the networking or opening session, start off by approaching another individual or small group of two to three people. It can be awkward to approach a larger group, as they are harder to break into and to start a one-on-one conversation. After you have your initial conversations, ask your new contacts to have a drink with you or meet you near the buffet for food.

- Making small talk is easy, even if you're shy. Ask people about when they arrived, their travel, their hometown, the weather; talk about the conference, trade show or the speakers. These topics open up the conversation; just avoid any emotional topics such as politics or religion. Ask people questions about themselves. People love to talk, especially about themselves. They will even bring out the pictures of their kids and pets. Genuinely listen to each conversation and you'll find yourself making a lasting connection.

- This is a time to learn. If you're seated next to a chatty attendee before a presentation starts, politely tell them that you would love to talk after the session. Be polite, sincere and firm. Tell them right at the beginning of the conversation. If you wait too long to say something, you can get hooked into the conversation, and it will be more uncomfortable to get out.
 
- Respect the speaker. As a speaker, it can be frustrating to be on a stage in front of a group and realize attendees are talking amongst themselves. If you must have a conversation or make a phone call, please leave the room.

- Wear your name badge. Instead of using a lanyard, which makes the badge nearly impossible to read, pin it on your clothing, preferably on the right side (it's easier to read when you shake hands).

For more information visit www.colleenrickenbacher.com or call 214-341-1677.

Comment on this article

comments powered by Disqus

Related Glossary Terms

Search for more...

Related Events

RIVA COURSE 201: FUNDAMENTALS OF MODERATING
April 23-25, 2014
RIVA Training Institute will hold a course, themed 'Fundamentals of Moderating,' on April 23 -April 25 in Rockville, Md.
RIVA COURSE 303: ADVANCED MODERATING
April 28-30, 2014
RIVA Training Institute will hold a course, themed 'Advanced Moderating,' on April 28-30 in Rockville, Md.

View more Related Events...

Related Articles

There are 835 articles in our archive related to this topic. Below are 5 selected at random and available to all users of the site.

Are researchers ready for Web 2.0?
Web 2.0, characterized by more consumer-generated content and more interaction between and among Web users and Web sites, has affected some forms of qualitative research and forced research providers to adapt accordingly.
Setting the tone for effective observation
Focus groups continue to grow in importance and popularity as a data collection tool, though many client-observers succumb to the party-like atmosphere behind the mirror and fail to take part in the science of focus group observations. This article discusses effective ways to manage focus group observation to improve the overall quality of sessions, including four keys to observer orientation.
Is there a SUIC in your future?
Technology can play a large role in research. This article contains information about many software applications being used in research and other business fields.
Ask and ye shall receive: Why ‘salesy’ isn’t a four-letter word
The author encourages salespeople not to shy away from the job of selling and suggests that simply asking for a client's business may be the most direct way to win a project.
How Web 2.0 made a long survey more palatable
Green-industry researcher Earthsense worked with its partners to improve the survey-taking experience for respondents of its online Eco-Insights study, adding a female avatar and other elements to enhance interactivity and create a sense of fun.

See more articles on this topic

Related Discussion Topics

Market research report
08/20/2013 by Aarkstore Store
Most commonly used research techniques
07/28/2010 by Curtis J. Fedder
yes, I have experience with those ethics issues
06/23/2010 by Michael R. Hollon
Ethics
06/11/2010 by Jim Santilli
Research and analysis to foresight your business perspective
02/19/2010 by Emmanuel M. Mendy

View More