TechSmart 2018: A Retrospective Diary
4 min read
07:00 – The Day Begins
Wake up, brush teeth, comb hair, get dressed. The usual stuff – nothing terribly exciting here. Let’s move on to the more important stuff, like breakfast.
07:30 - Breakfast. Unfortunately, our hotel only offered a continental breakfast. The full-English’s more urbane but less tasty cousin. Anyway, I made my way through a couple of croissants, as well as a rather strange-looking Danish that featured some sort of luminescent orange goo as the centrepiece. Swiped a few pots of jam as a souvenir.
08:00 - Stand set-up.
I’ve done so many stand set-ups now, I can do them with my eyes closed. This is generally not advised for those with fewer than three years’ experience in erecting exhibition stands. At TechSmart, I managed to break my own personal record of three minutes and 23 seconds. I just know that this set the day up for success.
09:00 – The Show Kicks Off.
I never really attempted to develop a standard “sales patter” to talk to delegates at these kinds of shows. Firstly, each attendee is different so it’s always best to talk through their needs before turning them off with a pre-prepared speech. Secondly, a pushy sales approach isn’t a terribly effective way of generating leads. I think it’s always best to educate people to know the possibilities, the limitations and the consequences of any given approach. Since we’re confident enough in our abilities, we operate under the assumption that, provided with sufficient knowledge about the digital landscape, then the customer is likely to choose us as their provider. This assumption has worked quite well for us so far.
12:30 - Lightning talk.
My moment in the spotlight. Of course, there are a few pre-talk nerves but nothing too heavy. I see my colleagues’ beaming faces in the audience so that was a nice little confidence-boost. It was not until later that I discovered they were not smiling at me, but rather admiring the free biscuits they had received from visiting another vendor’s stand. The worst part is they didn’t even think to get me one…
I decided to deliver a presentation on a topic that we knew well and really demonstrated our expertise in the sector. One of our key USPs is that we aren’t just a provider to the membership sector, we work across a number of different verticals. We use this cross-sector experience to identify opportunities and solutions for membership organisations that they may not have previously considered. I also talked at length about my famous cheesecake recipe, for reasons I can't quite remember.
I finished my slot with a little plug for our MemConnect app; something I will also plug here - so visit the MemConnect micro-site for more information on that.
I knew the talk went well because although the enchanting siren smell of lunch was making its way through the room, tempting each delegate with the promise of a tasty hot dinner, they all remained seated, fixated on my magnetic stage presence.
Lunchtime. The lunch break was a great opportunity to chat to delegates without the pressure of being an official vendor. I’ve got to say I was impressed by everyone I chatted with at the show. It was a really vibrant and engaged crowd who had a lot of questions about how to improve their offering to their members. People with questions are the best kind of people to talk to. They know what they’re talking about, but they have an open mind to new approaches, ideas, and technologies. Equally, it was an opportunity for me, as a vendor, to learn more about the latest member acquisition and engagement practices.
Post-event drinks and networking. I think it was a testament to how much everyone enjoyed the day that most people hung around to attend the networking event after the conference had officially concluded.
Due to my aforementioned skills in the area, I managed to successfully disassemble the stand with one hand whilst holding a light refreshment in the other. Again – don’t attempt without possessing sufficient experience.
With our precious event cargo safely en route back to Manchester in the trusty hands of a man and his van, we found ourselves sat in the train carriage, reflecting on the day. Unfortunately, this period of reflection only lasted a couple of minutes as I promptly fell asleep on one of the shoulders of one of my colleagues.
I woke up in Manchester Piccadilly train station, groggy and slightly disoriented but secure in the knowledge that I’d made the membership world a better place.
Due to popular demand, I have included the recipe from my famous cheesecake below:
For the crust:
60 grams melted butter
For the sweet, cheesy filling:
16oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
120 grams icing sugar
500 ml double cream
16 Oreos chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping
5 Oreos mashed to pieces
To make the crust:
Add the Oreos to a food processor and process until you have fine crumbs. Scoop the crumbs into a mixing bowl, and the melted butter, and mix until are of the crumbs are moistened.
Line the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper, scoop the mixture into the pan, and firmly press it down into one even layer. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill while you make the cheesecake filling.
For the cheesecake:
Mix the cream cheese until nice and smooth. Add icing sugar and vanilla extract and mix until well mixed.
In a separate bowl, mix until those lovely stiff peaks are formed. Add the cream to the cream cheese mixture and gently fold it until it's nice and combined. Then, fold in the mashed Oreos.
Scoop the cheesecake filling onto the crust, and carefully spread it on an oven-proof pan.
For the topping, add the extra Oreos.
Cover tightly and transfer back to the refrigerator to chill for at least 4-5 hours or overnight.