Heading to Vegas for the MJBiz Conference Week and want to get the most out of it?

We attend both MJBiz events annually and here’s what we recommend –  

Mentally prepare for a series of marathons. Vegas is a sprinting marathon, 8am-2am. For 3 days.

Develop an agenda and make a list of all of the booth numbers / vendors you want to see now, before the show. It’s best to use the interactive floor map from your phone so that you can star the vendors you want to visit and easily reference the list while you’re standing in the show.

Every morning before you head to the convention center, consult the checklist below:

Daily Checklist

  • Business Attire
  • Backpack
  • Business Cards
  • Snacks
  • Mints
  • Refillable Water Bottle
  • Your Vendor List
  • More Business Cards

Dress to impress and bring a backpack. While you will be handed a swagbag full of goodies, you’ll want to remain hands-free for shaking hands and exchanging business cards. Doing any of the above with a swagbag in one hand is awkward and novice.

Bring more business cards than you think you’ll need. I’ll go through at least 200 every show. You don’t want to be the person saying, “so sorry, I ran out of cards.”

While there’s plenty of food offered at the conference, time is often an issue. I suggest bringing a few small snacks to hold you over till dinner in case you miss lunch. Schedule your dinners with someone you have been meaning to connect with or that you just met at the show. Use dinner as an extended networking opportunity – don’t go alone.  And lastly, bring mints. Not gum, mints – it’s awkward to find a place to spit your gum out in the middle of a conversation.

To fit as much networking as possible into the show, follow these tips below:

MJ Biz Networking Tips

  • Get to the show early every day.
  • Hang by the coffee in the morning before the show opens.
  • Hang by the water cooler periodically – it’s Vegas, everyone needs to drink. You’d be amazed who you’ll meet by putting yourself out there by the water cooler.
  • Walk with a purpose to the booths on your list, don’t mosey; you’re way more likely to have valuable conversations when you look like you’re on a mission.
  • Eat.  No one wants to network with you while you’re hangry!
  • Plan to go to the after parties. Stay late but pace yourself.
  • Find your way into the private suites. You’ll need an invite, but ask around, you’ll get one.  

After you return home, remember to follow up with all of those that you just met. When you request a connection on LinkedIn, accompany it with a quick reference to meeting them in Vegas.  A quick email or text message after a good in-person connection is all that it takes to continue what you started in Vegas.

-Brian Staffa

—If you see me at the show, stop me to say hello–