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

QUAL360 ASIA
October 1-2, 2014, 2014
Merlien will hold a conference, themed 'Qual 360 Asia,' on October 1-2, 2014 in Singapore.
THE RESEARCH CLUB NETWORKING EVENT
October 2, 2014
The Research Club will host a networking event on October 2 at Tiger Tiger's, London.

View more Related Events...

Related Articles

There are 873 articles in our archive related to this topic. Below are 5 selected at random and available to all users of the site.

Overcome these common hazards to seize their potential
This article explains to how effectively execute a mixed-method market research project and avoid having the many facets end up as little more than disparate parts of an incomplete whole.
In Case You Missed It... February 2010
News and notes on marketing and research: Verizon launches loyalty program; companies misuse marketing research; the five-second brand to reach Gen Y
Roundtable participants outline issues facing the industry
Dynamic discussions highlighted the industry roundtables held in Los Angeles in September during the American Marketing Association’s annual marketing research conference. Sixteen professional moderators, led by the author, guided these groups, each one focused on a specific industry: consumer packaged goods, health services, financial services, automotive, high-tech and communications and public policy. Groups also concentrated on issues facing the travel, leisure, entertainment and restaurant industries. This article shares some of the commentary from those sessions.
Trade Talk: Researching the Web's wonders
A guide to using Hennepin County Library's online resources to conduct secondary research on the Web.
Seeking the right blend: Part I: What happens when you mix panel respondents and social network respondents?
In part one of a two-part article, the authors examine findings from an experiment in which sample from an established panel was blended with sample drawn from a social network population.

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