No longer just a muddy field, filled with wellies, heavy beats and 3am hot-dogs, festivals are fast becoming the places to see and be seen. Rather than leaving with a set of embarrassing photos and a heavy hangover, a new breed of festivals invites people to hear from industry professionals, explore different ideas and make new connections - whilst enjoying a more fun and relaxed atmosphere.
So it’s no surprise that this new type of 'business festival' is seeing more and more professionals swap their traditional corporate conference for a more engaging and enjoyable experience.
However, if you’ve never been to a business festival before you might not be sure what to do when you get there, or even what to pack. The good news is that you can leave your tent at home as we’ve got seven and a half top tips to get you through your next business festival.
1. Soak up ideas for your next project
Whatever your next project may be, business festivals are a great source of inspiration. Attending as many sessions as possible and scribbling down ideas is the best way to recover from your initial nerves and get stuck in. Soak up as much information as possible and not only will you find your lightbulb moment, but have plenty of inspiration ready for when you next hit a creative hurdle.
2. Shake a lot of hands
Festivals are a great place to hang out with old friends and the perfect opportunity to make new connections. Top networkers will hand-pick those that they want to reach out to and work their way around the breakout sessions, whereas others will take a more opportunistic approach. Whatever approach you have, take the time to gather a long list of new business contacts and book in some coffee dates, you never know who your might meet.
3. Be on the look out for content
Whether it’s for your LinkedIn Pulse blog or a new company eBook, go armed with notepad, pen and camera so that you’re always prepared to grab new content material. Try to get quotes from a range of different people on many different topics; opinions are gold and will elevate your content to the next level. Also, make sure that you have your hand up when the speaker asks for questions and get their opinion too.
4. Become the speaker’s no. 1 fan
If you know that your favourite speaker is attending, don’t be afraid to tweet them before the event or to take a copy of their book to the festival with you. The likelihood is that they’ll be holding a meet and greet session or be wandering around during the day. Don’t be afraid to tweet them and let them know that you’ll be there too and would like to speak to them, or to get their autograph. Or if you don’t then just keep an eye out, you might be lucky enough to meet them in the queue for the coffee.
5. Ask lots of questions
Have an objective in mind before you hit the festival strip. This way you can have some questions that you want answering in mind. Figure out the best places to go and people to meet so you make sure that you get your questions answered. That way you will leave the festival with your head high and your goals fulfilled.
6. Plan ahead
You're going to gain a variety of insights on the day but not every session may be of full benefit to you. By planning ahead you can make sure you get in the sessions which offer you the most benefit. It's also a great idea to plan your journey before the day so you arrive unflustered and early so you can settle in and enjoy the good vibes from the outset.
7. Keep your phone on silent...
Set up that out of office reply and stay away from company emails for the day. Don’t be tempted to look at your messages, but instead use the time to make new contacts or gather new ideas. By staying offline not only will you be free to make the most of the day but benefit from a small break in your week too.
7. (and a half) … Never be off your phone
Post about the great ideas that you’ve found. Tweet quotes that you’ve been gathering throughout the day. Get to know all of the speakers’ Twitter handles and make them work overtime. Take advantage of every photo opportunity and post a picture of your food-truck lunch on Instagram. You’re out and about so why not shout about it?
Speaking of festivals... if there's one customer experience event you don't want to miss this year, it's Customer Engagement Raveolution 2016. Taking place on the 3rd of November at Hawker House, Canada Water, London we'll be bringing together 300 senior executives for a day of insightful presentations, thought leadership and networking. Follow the link below to find out more!