For a lot of conference delegates roaming the exhibition hall can be a daunting experience, but here we break down how and why you should maximise your exhibition experience.
For many of our conference delegates, the thought of venturing into an exhibition hall is enough to start the stuttering, excessive sweating and the eyes down, chin to chest walk. For some people it just seems to bring out insecurities and can actually make them feel quite vulnerable.
Why? Because many of us have had a bad experience in an exhibition hall at least once in our working lives. We’ve all experienced it. The vulture (disguised as a bright young thing in a suit) whose eyes lock on to you the moment it sees you, its prey. Any dithering and no matter what you try and do to save yourself, you will not win... it picks its moment... and pounces.... from that very moment (unless you get a lucky break) you are doomed to be schmoozed and bombarded with sales speak until finally your flight response becomes so strong you hand over your precious contact details and run to the nearest coffee point. Sound familiar?
At UKOUG events the exhibition hall is not a place to dread but a place where you can compare potential suppliers/solutions conveniently under one roof. It’s full of opportunities for face-to-face networking and it’s your chance to meet with the Oracle partners that can help your business succeed. A place where you can build your network of go-to contacts in the industry, a place to get new ideas and exchange ideas. Once you change how you think about the exhibition hall, it just becomes an additional source of highly valuable information.
“I have built up a great network over the years which has directly lead to saving time, money and resources through knowledge gained, getting free hints and tips from other members, as well as free consultancy advice, that I have been able to use to solve issues back in the office.” Sandra Knight, UKOUG member
Networking with exhibitors is as important as networking with other delegates; in fact it’s often a great place to follow up with a speaker after they have presented a session with a customer. Exhibitors at our exhibitions are knowledgeable people; they're not always sales people. Often they are the very same people who are on the front line of organisations’ problem areas and latest projects, so the insight you can gain from having conversations with them can pay dividends.
“Half an hour talking to the Oracle Middleware representative made the 3 day conference worthwhile and has saved us a lot of money.” Shane Williams, Mass Consulting, Tech13
Contrary to popular belief, our exhibitors do not always have an agenda. Yes, they have a commercial reason for engaging with you, but they know that the best way to win you over is by demonstrating their knowledge, not by giving you the hard sell, so they will be open and candid. Oracle usually has staff from a variety of business areas on its stand who are there to educate and to answer your questions, so make the most of it - it's extremely valuable and quite rare in modern conference programmes these days. Savvy delegates can use this to their advantage.
“Lots of great information to discuss especially around upgrading, so we had several good conversations and were able to make some constructive suggestions.” Magic Software
Between them our exhibitors look after hundreds of Oracle customers around the world – where else in the UK are you going to get that kind of exposure to that broad a knowledge base in one room and for a very reasonable price?
Visit each stand with the aim to learn more about how its services and technologies could increase savings and efficiencies within your business. Listen in to other conversations happening on the stands. Check out the product demos and short presentation pitches, ask lots of questions, get recommendations, quiz and feedback to suppliers, take advantage of any in-show offers. We have the BCS exhibiting so there are professional development opportunities to explore too.
“A great opportunity for finding out what other products are out there to enhance the Oracle user experience, for networking and for getting ideas to improve the overall user experience.” Denise Carey, Metropolitan, Apps13
Everything you'll see at the exhibition represents what is happening in the Oracle world right now, so it’s a valuable opportunity for Oracle professionals like you to gain insights into the challenges facing users as well as exploring emerging technology and future trends. UKOUG exhibitions are well recognised and supported, so the views, ideas, innovations, new products and services presented here offer a truly complete perspective.
“Came away feeling reinvigorated and energised with how the product is moving forward and the 3rd party tools available. A day well spent.” Stephen Willams, Stonegate
Both Apps14 and Tech14 offer unrivalled networking opportunities. As well as conference lunches and coffee breaks, an invitation is extended to all attendees to head along to the exhibition hall social drinks, a perfect setting for relaxed and informal networking if you’re a bit shy. And as always there will be plenty of fun acitvities to take part in too – games, magicians, caricaturist, prizes to win and more.
So get over your inhibitions and start talking to our exhibitors – think of the free consultancy saving you £££s!
“There are potential opportunities to pick brains – 15 minutes of free consultancy over coffee!” Phil Wilkins, Specsavers
Find out who's exhibiting at Apps14 and Tech14
Dates for your diaries:
Tech14: Monday 8th December
Exhibition Drinks: 17:50 - 19:00, followed by Community Drinks: 19:00 - 20:00
Apps14: Tuesday 9th December
Exhibition Drinks: 17:50 - 19:00, followed by Cool Britannia: 19:00 - late