Tip 1: Preparation is key
I can’t overstate how important it is to prepare and plan your schedule in advance. I would say about 8o% of my work was done upfront. In the weeks before the event opens, Slush offers access to an online matching platform where you can see who’s attending.
You can search by industry, key word, category (investor, corporate, scale-up, etc.) and more to easily find contacts you might like to meet. And you can contact them to arrange appointments. At the event itself, around 200 small tables are positioned for quick one-to-one meetings to facilitate interactions as much as possible.
Tip 2: Go with a goal in mind
It’s important to know upfront what you’re looking for. Is it for investment or to look for business partners? To learn about new technologies? To access a greater client base? All these and more are possible.
If you’re not really sure what it is your business needs, you can spend a lot of time getting suboptimal results. For T-Mining, we knew that we were there to better understand the needs of potential investors.
Tip 3: Create a schedule and stick to it
Besides your meetings and visiting the booths where people showcase their businesses and offerings, there are a whole host of other activities to get involved in; keynote presentations, community gatherings, small Slush talks, a hackathon and much more. You need to be highly disciplined with your schedule to make sure you accommodate everything you want to do and gain the greatest value from your time.
It’s easy to think you’ll just reschedule a meeting, but that may mean missing a contact all together. Presentations and talks of course you can’t reschedule, that’s why upfront planning is so important. I managed my time in 30-minute chunks to fit in as much as I could.
Tip 4: Follow up on contacts
There’s little point going to a tech conference, meeting lots of new people and making interesting leads and doing nothing with them after. Even four or five weeks later, it’s really too late to get back in touch. Although, it’s easy to get home and get back into the day-to-day and work to catch up on what you missed, you’ll be missing a lot more if you don’t act soon.
Before you go, plan in time on your return to process the mountains of business cards you’ll collect and connect via LinkedIn, send emails, slides or whatever to show the people you met that they’re important to you as a new business relation. If you don’t, you’ve just wasted two days of your time.
Tip 5: Don’t use up all your energy on day one
As tempting as it may be to get into the party mode from the minute you arrive - in the case of Slush, think indoor Tomorrowland, with the same vibe and party atmosphere - take it easy at the start to make sure you maximise your time and still have energy left for the closing event.
At Slush, you’re not just busy during the day, but it continues well into the night. I had at least three separate activities to attend each evening, including a PwC event, a happening just for participants from Belgium and more.