There’s always something exciting about visiting a big exhibition. You get to see the best of an industry, hear from interesting people and discover new ideas and products – some of which will change the way you work dramatically.
And, with apologies to the Masterchef team, exhibitions don’t get much bigger than BETT. Taking up a significant part of the huge ExCel venue, the organisers are predicting almost 35,000 visitors who will get the chance to look at 850 leading companies and hear from dozens of industry experts. We’re excited to be there!
Scarily this is going to be my own 14th BETT! Over the years there have been many changes, chiefly the movement from Olympia to ExCeL, but there is always the excitement of discovering the opportunities that new technology may present, seeing trends in new product ranges arriving, developing and going again.
So with so much ground to cover and potentially rich sources of information how do you make the most of your visit (apart from visiting ONVU at stand F350 of course!). Here are 10 suggestions to help you make the most of the event…
- Register in advance and fill in your profile, the queues can be quite long at busy times or as each train delivers a new load of delegates. At bettshow.com you can set up a profile, search for things that you are interested in and start choosing stands and talks you’d like to attend – and then more will be suggested.
- Sign up for the Bett newsletter (scroll down the event homepage to find it) and keep updated with the latest news.
- Start arranging meetings and booking demonstrations in advance using the connect@bett networking service (you can find a link at bettshow.com/whats-on/connectbett#). This is really useful and helps you to accurately identify people who could really be of value to you.
- Download the event app on iTunes or in the Google Play Store. The map is particularly useful when you’re in the middle of the huge exhibition space and don’t know which way to go.
- Let people know you’re going on social media – it’s always surprising how many former colleagues and friends you bump into at shows and regret not having time for a chat.
- Book some talks and seminars, but not too many. If you try to fill every minute in advance you’ll lose the chance to follow up new ideas, visit the stands of companies that give great talks or fit in an extended demonstration.
- Be as methodical as possible in moving around the show, print out the map, mark key places, stands that you want to visit and tick off areas of the show aisle by aisle as you progress.
- Manage your time and don’t get stuck so that you don’t cover the whole show; you can always go back to stands later. Exhibitors want to talk to as many people as possible and so should you. Look to build relationships for future conversations, limit conversations to 5-10 minutes and keep a list of the exhibitors that you are interested in, their products and contact information for further follow ups.
- Use the journey back to organise your thoughts. It’s so easy to be swept away with the day job that you don’t follow up the great new idea. Highlight the top 3-4 companies you’d like to work with and drop them an email asking for more information – if they’re good they’ll be in touch and happy to work to your timescale.
- And finally, you also have to enter competitions and pick up freebies – you can come away from BETT with a pocket full of great gadgets and, if you teach, enough sweets to keep your next three troublesome classes quiet.
Bett takes place between 24-27 January at ExCel London. ONVU Learning is at stand F350 – please stop for a coffee and chat! To book a demonstration of our 360-degree lesson observation and teacher coaching system in advance please click here.
We hope to see you there /