NAB Show First-Timers Guide
April 13th, 2016 by RVNA Production Insurance
By Steve Rotz, Vice President, ProductionHUB
Everyone remembers their first time attending the NAB Show – how amazing the showroom floor looks filled with all kinds of amazing, new technology, from cameras and lenses to drones and 4K technology – and how much walking your feet will be enduring all week. For those who have not yet attended, we have compiled a list of a few tips that we find extremely helpful for first timers – you’ll be thanking us later!
Although it may seem like a lot to take in, with renowned speakers, state of the art broadcasting equipment, sessions, networking events, the list goes on…there truly are not enough hours in the day to cover it all. With 1,500+ companies, hundreds of skill building sessions and 91,000 media & entertainment professionals attending, it is more important than ever to cultivate your time management skills and take advantage of every business opportunity this show has to offer.
How do we know?
We’ve been attending for the past 17 years. We are not “bandwagon” fans – we are those exhibitors who come year after year because, well, we just can’t get enough. Hence the creation of our 2016 NAB Survival Guide, to help you make the most out of your trip and ensure you leave Vegas feeling even more industry savvy than when you first arrived.
Don’t Get ‘Social’ Anxiety
There may be a new trending topic everywhere you turn, but try not to get overwhelmed. Know the important or most popular hashtags being used, and plan your social [media] calendar in advance, so you are less stressed about it when you’re at the show. Also, it always helps when you are following the Twitter handles of your favorite companies / speakers prior to attending. (This is helpful for when you are quickly creating that tweet live from the show floor.)
NAB’s social page is also a great reference where you can stay connected with the show, no matter what social platform you prefer.
If your company is taking video or covering the event editorially, make sure to take plenty of b-roll and notes – just in case. Better to be safe, than sorry! Trust us, it’s always best to have too much (than not enough) information to report with. Do what you can every night to break up the work so it’s not as stressful when you get back to the office or production set.
The at-a-glance floor plan in your event program guide is key, and you can even get the NAB 2016 App on your phone.
Dress for Show Success
You might have worn your fancy Vegas shoes, but once you step foot into the Las Vegas Convention Center, all bets are off. Just one day at the convention and you’ll realize why there are business men and women in suits and dresses with sneakers on. It might look funny at first, but you’ll be jealous of them after a day or two.
Also, to put it mildly…it’s freezing in there. If you bring in an ice-filled soda, it might not even get watered down by lunchtime. So, bring a light sweater or keep your suit jacket handy. During the peak hours in the expo, the body warmth from people levels everything out, but if you are in the sessions, definitely bring something with you so you can concentrate on the session itself (and not just scribbling notes furiously to keep body temp up).
Pockets are your best friend. Even if you are an exhibitor with lead scanners, and think you will never see a business card- trust me, you will. And, more importantly, you’ll want your important belongings on you at all times. Ladies, leave the Gucci tote in your room (it will get uncomfortable to hold all day and you will probably end up leaving it with co-worker at your booth anyway.)
When attending the expo, bags and backpacks are the way to go. You will get so much “stuff” thrown at you as you walk up and down those aisles, and making sure you have somewhere reliable and comfortable to store it is necessary. Plus, it’s great for dumping everything out on your bed and sifting through later on in your hotel room.
Don’t Double Down on Empty Calories
The days are long and you will need every nutritional advantage to stay alert and energized. Stay hydrated, keep an energy bar or banana handy and stay away from the heavy lunches so you aren’t dragging to your afternoon meeting. There’s a sandwich shop in the adjoining hotel – The Las Vegas Hilton – that will be a lot quicker (and yummier) than the convention cafeteria. Or better yet, kill two birds with one stone. Spend lunch time socializing with new friends and networking while getting your energy back up!
Obviously there will be no shortage of fine dining to choose from at night, but here’s a helpful link in case you need help sorting through the massive list of restaurants. Of course your concierge can also help figure out the best places based on your budget and taste. Just make sure you make reservations early!
Also, while it may seem every hour is happy hour between the casinos and the show floor, try not to stay out all night or drink too much. Your future self (for the next day) will thank you.
Connect with Clients (Old & New)
Show your advertisers or clients some love, whether that means taking them to a show, doing a group dinner or even staying an extra day before or after the show to unwind. If they are having an event, do your best to try and stop by to support.
These face-to-face opportunities to connect with clients come by less and less often with today’s meeting technologies – you may get more relationship building done in one laid-back social setting than you would via email and conference call all year long.
Prepare To Talk To Lots Of People
This means not only mentally preparing yourself, but finding the perfect balancing act between the need for early morning coffee and the inevitable outcome of coffee breath. Bring mints!
* If you are an attendee, you will probably get so many business cards, you will need to dump out your bag / badge holder and start fresh the next day. To keep your favorite leads together, perhaps let everybody scan your badge and only keep paper copies of ones you need to write follow up notes on.
* If you are an exhibitor, and you are using a lead scanner, make sure to use the ‘sort’ / classifying tools to make sure you are putting the people you meet into the right follow-up sections. You do not want to accidentally send a generic post-show promotion to an existing advertiser or partner!
Also, get familiar with the lay of the land before the floor show floodgate opens. When people ask you where the restrooms are or where certain key events / major neighbors are, you never want to say, “I don’t know.”
Lastly, always ask questions and find out what the attendees do and why they came to the show. They may not even need your services now, but they may know a few people who do, and are more likely to pass on info to people that are friendly, genuine and interested. Stay open-minded and in the networking mind-set the entire time – sometimes the most valuable contacts are unplanned, like in line at the cafe or even in the business center waiting for copies.
Don’t take our word for it. See what Tom Spota, Director of Video Acquisition at Shutterstock has to say about the show:
“NAB is BIG. Make sure you plan your trip accordingly. Before you enter NAB, make sure you have a map and plan out the exhibits and shows that you want to see. If you have a smartphone, download the NAB app as this really helped me out with my first trip. It has a map of the floor that shows you where you currently are. You can also pick out the vendors and exhibits that you want to see ahead of time. Remember to prioritize your day as there are many products, speakers, and exhibits to check out.
You might want to prepare for NAB like you are about to go hiking. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and stay hydrated. You will be doing quite a bit of walking and the Las Vegas climate is dry, so it’s important to drink a lot of water. Layers don’t hurt either as many places will be very cool with the air conditioning. You can then peel those layers off as you exit the building and are under the blazing sun of the desert.
Most important, have fun at the show (and bring lots of business cards)!”
Bottom line: if you go to NAB without planning or scheduling and proper prioritization & planning, we promise you will be overwhelmed and under-satisfied. Just like you would on any TV, corporate or pro video project: the more time you spend in prep, the better the experience & outcome will be.
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