You probably use technology to build productivity and effectiveness into your everyday life. At The Rental Show 2012 in New Orleans, scheduled for Feb. 5-8 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, you can use your laptop or mobile device to plot your activities, record great ideas and make the most of your convention and trade show experience.
Before the show
- Register it. Chances are you registered for the convention activities on TheRentalShow.com. Look here for links to “New Orleans” and use the links to spot programs of interest, hotel amenities or tours around town. Preview attractions by clicking on related links, and “check in” via your laptop or mobile device.
- Enter it. Just before your convention begins, create a simple database of facts. Use an excel spreadsheet or a simple database program that allows you to code each entry with a topic tag. As you encounter interesting ideas, quotations or observations, pull out your laptop or mobile device and make an entry with a relevant code. After the event is over, you’ll be able to sort and view information at your leisure.
- Email it. Want to connect with other convention-goers? People you know in the neighboring communities? Set up an e-mail distribution list and let folks know your comings and goings. Distribution lists also are great for arranging evening outings and travel, and drawing attention to interesting convention attractions.
- Meet it. Conventions and conferences are great opportunities for meeting old friends and associates. Schedule time or outings with people you know by posting an event on your favorite social networking site, use a meetup site or simply assemble a distribution list of friends you’d like to meet and drop them an email message.
- Schedule it. The Rental Show always offers a seemingly unlimited variety of sights, sounds, contacts and learning experiences. Rather than walk through the convention hall at random, access the hall layout and program schedule via your laptop or smartphone at TheRentalShow.com, and click on the seminar and vendor links to briefly learn more. Then decide which attractions to visit based on your schedule and interests.
At the show
- Blog it. Make it a point to create a daily blog of your convention activities — sights and sounds, people you meet, new experiences, new insights and random thoughts you’d like to share. Post on your blog site if you have one or on your business website and send a link to your friends and colleagues.
- Commemorate it. Chances are that your digital phone can take photographs. Snap a few shots of important convention activities as well as notable sights around town. Post the photos on your personal website or social networking page with a few comments about what you learned at each spot. Also, connect with The Rental Show via Facebook.com/TheRentalShow or Twitter, with the tweet addition of “@TheRentalShow”.
- Friend it. As you meet new and old colleagues at the event, create the opportunity for ongoing communication: collect business cards and create links with your business colleagues on your favorite social networks.
- Index it. As you receive presentation handouts, sales circulars, directories and guides, and other print information, tag the information in each piece with appropriate keywords, like “marketing tips” or “supervisory issues.” Place a chronological code, such “1,” “2,” “3” and so on, on each piece of material and index it in your conference database for easy retrieval.
- Link it. When you’re attending a seminar or sales presentation, and you hear a link being mentioned, pull out your laptop or mobile device and access the link. You might find the linked content enriching your understanding of the information. Save what’s useful.
- Record it. Record important information, such as statistics or presenter ideas, by using your built-in mobile device recorder or, if that’s not available, create a file in your word processing program and plug in the key points.
- Send it. If you receive something you’d like to immediately share with folks back home — a list of important legal tips, a humorous photograph or project instructions — open your email list, check the recipient and send the item as an attachment.
- Sign it. No need to drop all work from the office while you’re away. Use your electronic signature utility to execute documents from afar.
- Tweet it. If you’re using Twitter or an instant micro-blog service, alert your friends and colleagues back home with breaking news from the convention — or ideas and tips they can use right away. Include “@TheRentalShow” with your tweet, to include your thoughts on The Rental Show’s Twitter site.
After the Show
- Note it. When you want to remember something you saw, heard or learned at The Rental Show, make a note in your information manager, such as Outlook. Connect the note to a person, task or subject listed there. Next time you check that location, your information will pop up.
- Quote it. Some of the best memories of conventions are thoughts or quotations offered by presenters or participants. Transcribe great quotes in your laptop “quote file” and save them for later retrieval.
- Scan it. Put important items from a vendor booth or seminar in a “permanent” folder and scan them into your electronic file system. RM
Richard Ensman is a freelance writer based in Rochester, N.Y. He can be contacted through his website, featuresnow.com.