The Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) is the Super Bowl of events for the e-commerce industry. It’s the world’s largest e-comm conference, and it’s packed with workshops, speakers, tradeshow contests, and more than 600 exhibitors showing off the newest services and technology.
If you’re attending this week in Chicago (we are!), you need a game plan if you want to score the best possible conference experience. Here are three strategies to put in play at IRCE:
1. Step outside your comfort zone.
Are you a pro at social media marketing? Up to speed on all the latest mobile technology? Then by all means, don’t attend workshops on these topics. Yes, you’ll probably learn some nuggets to reinforce what you already know, but it’s better to attend sessions that are outside your particular areas of expertise. Examine the agenda and aim to immerse yourself in new concepts and ideas.
2. Power down your digital devices.
If you use your smartphone or laptop as a crutch at the conference, you’re missing out on the networking component of IRCE. Plus, it’s less-than-friendly. It sends the message you’d rather check e-mail than strike up a conversation. When there’s a break, resist the urge to pull out your phone and try saying hi to someone instead. In fact, use your tradeshow tote bag to pack away your electronics and focus on the people in front of you. You never know where the discussion may lead.
3. Keep your plans fluid.
It’s smart to know what tracks you want to attend and what you’d like to see in the exhibit hall, but don’t set anything in stone. Allow yourself flexibility in your schedule if, for example, a new contact wants to talk business over lunch.
For us, IRCE is incredibly inspiring and fun. We love it all: The people, the education, the new ideas, and of course, the promotional products. We come back to the office refreshed and energized, and it’s all because we went into it with a strategy for making it the best possible experience.
What’s your strategy at IRCE this week?