Five decades later, it is evident of the monumental influence that IEEE PES T&D Conference and Exposition has had amongst a vast majority of utilities and businesses alike.
This year, IEEE is celebrating 50 years of “ideas, growth and success,” and what better city to do this in than Chicago, IL? Okay, well maybe New Orleans, but that’s only because I’m biased of my home town. Being named one of the “Fastest 50” by Trade Show Executive, IEEE will be nothing short of electrifying.
This is one of the largest and most important conferences/expositions in the electric utility industry. Professional engineers have a chance to attend some sessions to attain needed continuing education credits. They also are able to walk the exhibit floor to network with vendors who manufacture and/or supply many of the products used in their substations and on their transmission lines. It is a unique opportunity to meet current or potential suppliers face to face in a casual atmosphere and to see any new products that are being introduced into the industry. Additionally there is the chance to interact with engineers from other electric utility companies and share thoughts, ideas and best practices.
For those of us exhibiting, while standing up on our feet all day can be tough, we need to evaluate whether or not we are really doing the right thing when exhibiting. Think about what you want the attendee to say when they walk away from your booth. Did they learn something new? Did they feel like you were listening? Or did you just scan their badge two seconds in to the conversation then send them on their way?
The second that an attendee enters your booth to have a conversation, you set the tone. We need to create an experience. The main goal is to build trust on the fly. We’ve all been guilty of thinking that we are listening when we’re really looking around, thinking about lunch or what’s going on at home.
5 Tips to Leave Them Wanting More:
1. WELCOMING GESTURES- Focus on your stance. Make sure not to fold your arms or cross them behind your back: this can appear closed off. Instead, stand with your hands by your side or use natural hand gestures when speaking. Also, sitting behind a table or leaning back relaxing puts off the vibe that you don’t care to be there.
2. EYE CONTACT- Make eye contact with attendees passing by and especially when you are in a conversation with them. It’s also important to make sure to smile: this makes them feel welcomed.
3. LISTEN LIKE YOU MEAN IT- It’s about changing the focus from us to them. We’re ready to tell them all we know, but we need to listen first. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Also, use physical and verbal acknowledgement, like nodding your head or engaging with them.
4. UNDERSTAND THEIR NEEDS- Ask questions to find out what interests them, what are their needs, wants, ideas, etc. It’s perfectly okay, and actually encouraged, to ask questions such as, “So, what do you see going forward” or “What’s the biggest issue you have.” This lets them know you that you do care and want to know more.
5. FOUR FOUNDATIONS- There are four foundations to grasp; listening, comprehending, processing and connecting. Hearing is physical, while listening is mental. It takes focus to do both effectively while also comprehending and processing what they are saying and then connecting it with what your company provides. Don’t just listen from one point of view, focus on the other person then observe, watch and listen.
*Also, just to add, DIS-TRAN will be exhibiting at IEEE this year and will be at booth #6335. We will be giving away an iPad Tuesday, April 15th and Wednesday, April 16th. All you have to do is either click on the link below to pre-register, or you can stop by our booth and register. And don’t worry those of you who are like me and don’t have the best of luck, you still have a chance to win a $50 Visa Gift Card. We will be drawing three names Tuesday and Wednesday, so you’ll have eight chances to win something!