By now, you’re probably planning what time you’ll leave for the airport to catch your flight to Orlando. All the big-picture planning for ICAST is done. The rest is the details, but that’s famously where the devil lives.
Luckily for you, I’m here to help with the last-minute stuff that will make all the difference for your ICAST experience.
Number 1: Download the ICAST 2017 app.
No, it’s not perfect, but the ICAST 2017 app is quite good, and it’s your best source for critical information like booth numbers, floor plan, event schedules and the like. The “My Show Planner” feature even lets you list the exhibitors you want to see and has a calendar for appointments.
You could use any number of other scheduling apps for iPhone or Android, but the ICAST 2017 app is the only one that has key show information, and that makes it indispensable. Load it up now and get familiar with it before you get to the show. You don’t want to have to stop younger, more tech-savvy attendees and ask them to find the information for you … on your own phone.
Yes, I was “that guy” a couple of years ago.
Number 2: Have a business card system.
If the ICAST badge holder is big enough, I like to store the business cards I collect in the back of it. I keep my own business cards in a shirt or pants pocket. It’s annoying to have to shuffle through the cards of others looking for my card, or vice versa.
And be sure to carry plenty of business cards. Running out is a rookie mistake. If you’re on the floor, meeting new people, you need cards, and you need to be collecting the cards of those you meet and entering them in your contacts database.
As I type this, I have 1,792 contacts in my database. That’s no record, of course, but keeping that list up-to-date is critical to my work … and perhaps yours.
Number 3: Don’t be an island.
John Donne famously said that no man is an island. Apparently, he never made it to an ICAST, where it’s easy to zone-out and pay attention only to what’s in front of you on the show floor or at meals.
You can’t see everything or talk to everyone at ICAST. Science has proven that the human head would need 14 more eyes and eight more mouths to accomplish that. Instead, use your time away from the floor to talk with peers about what they saw and heard, to check key websites (like this one!) and to walk the floor. If you don’t, you might leave the show without having seen the most important stuff or talked to the most important people.
Number 4: Take care of yourself.
I’m always amazed at the number of people who come to ICAST and treat it like a vacation … or frat party. Yes, it’s usually in a resort city like Orlando or Las Vegas where there are a lot of distractions, but you’re there to work, and it only happens once a year. You owe it to yourself and your business to take it seriously on and off the show floor.
That means bringing your “A” game each day, and you do that by taking care of yourself, eating and drinking right, getting enough rest and being completely present where you should be and when you should be there.
If you really need to cut loose and overindulge, tack a few days onto your trip and do it then — not during the biggest and most important industry gathering of the year.
Number 5: Carry breath mints … and use them.
In the name of James Alexander Henshall and all that’s right and decent in this world, you should have plenty of breath mints with you at ICAST. The show floor is full of “close talkers,” people who think they have incredible secrets to share and those who suffer from halitosis so bad it could straighten a hook without actual physical contact.
I usually have a pants pocketful of loose Altoids when I’m at the show. You’re welcome to one, but it might be covered in lint. No matter. I’d rather have breath that’s a little lint-y than the dragon breath I’d have without the Altoids.