Like Spinal Tap for industry conventions

It's business conference, convention, and trade show season once again, and—just kidding, there's no in-season or off-season. This is eternal flame for corporate crap.

As Rev. A.Uthentic pontificates:

But you need to feed your precarious ego with delusional fodder that you did not sellout your values for profit a long time ago. So you HAVE to use violent and rebellious imagery to describe what you do—what you did—just to keep from confronting the loser that you really are: rock it, crush it, killin' it. Knowing fully well that the ‘it' that you rocked, crushed, and killed is nothing else than your own humanity.
So let's not pretend your next business conference is going to be anything more than a massive sale of souls and the necessary ego-stroking that follows. But let's get you ready for hell anyhow.
And just to be clear, hell is not the furnace you end up in for having sold yourself, nor a fiery place where quota-crushin' douchebags suffer. No. Hell is the mediocrity that your lungs will breathe in and your head will swim in during your next overpriced, plenary shindig.

And for it, here's everything that you need:

Cheap, ill-fitting gray suit

There is no place for color, uniqueness, or good fit in your conference. More than an outfit, your cheap, ill-fitting gray suit is a metaphor for your marketing and your solutions: same as everyone else's and excessively fat for extra margins.

Brochures

An intelligent marketing agency once said that content marketing used to be nothing more than brochureware. These days, when someone says ‘Brochure,' I say ‘They still make those?' And it's your responsibility to keep this dying art alive!

Business cards

Yes, because potential buyers will want to call you, you handsome tiger.

Laptop

To make you look important. You will likely not have the opportunity to turn this laptop on, but in the off-chance that you do, you should:

  • Respond to trivial emails that seriously will not end the world if you waited the next day—or four—before you reply.

  • Open some boring Word document or Excel spreadsheet and pretend you're Jackson Pollock editing it in Calibri 11pt.

Loud ringtone

To catch everyone's attention when you answer your phone during a sponsor's (see below) serious presentation and make them gasp, “He must be really important. I want to give him my business.”

Smartphone installed with Twitter, plus your conference's hashtag

And simply parrot all the impractical, unactionable, and obvious platitudes, missives, and motherhoods that the conference ‘thought-leaders’ (who all just happen to be the conference sponsors too, so you have nothing to worry about the impartiality of the ‘thoughts' they're leading with) will spew out and that you and everyone else with a single-cell organism's IQ has already known since the discovery of fire.

Rehearsed, self-important buzzwords

You can go current, with the likes of ‘disruptive' and ‘as-a-service.' Or you can go classic, with ‘leverage' and ‘efficiency.'

Interruptive outbound sales pitch

I've always relied on the old, trusty “Do you have any requirement for [insert your product/service here]?” Real appropriate for people you're meeting for the first time.

A desperation-masked, face-to-face CTA (call-to-action)

Such as, “Please like our Facebook page,” or “We'll send you our weekly self-centered newsletter,” to all the business cards you've collected.

Guns

I mean muscular, worked-out arms to carry all the highly relevant conference swag you can get your hands on: those free ecobags, pens, flash drives, and that official, cheap, nylon, and tastelessly emblazoned conference laptop bag that couldn't protect a melamine plate if your life depended on it.

BONUS: What You Should Leave at Home

 

Ability to talk like a normal human being

Because:

  1. Robotics and AI are so hot right now (FOMO!); and

  2. You don't know who among you meet is an Android or a drone (both hot stuff too).

Impress colleagues with your gadgetry NOT.jpg

Pad paper

What is this, the Dark Ages? Even though pen-on-paper has been found more effective in learning-retention, how are you going to brandish your tech-savvy, rockin', achiever self to the industry colleagues you're trying to one-up, without the psychological security blanket that your 100-percent electronic gadgetry provides?

Critical eye

Those sponsors hogging the airtime are thought-leaders, damn it! You have no right to question them.

Desire for learning

One reason you're at the conference, and one reason alone: leads, you wimp, leads!

Shame, decency, and good taste

I said leads!

Inbound

Or any concern for or anything of value at all to your market.

 

There. Go forth and network.

 

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