Don’t get swallowed up in MWC this year – A survivor’s guide to hitting the ground running…

For such a huge show and so many exhibitions, Mobile World Congress (MWC) can be an overwhelming beast to navigate. A person could get lost in the amount of new gadgets and trends that pop-up in every nook and cranny of the trade floor. Not only do we as marketers get to learn from the vast amount of seminars and experts sharing their insight into the industry, but we also get a chance to make great new partnerships that will set the tone for the rest of the year. So my first bit of advice is, make sure you thoroughly research what you want to see vs what you need to see and go to the things that will really add value.

Instead of offering you predictions on the top 2018 trends here – I’m going to break from the norm and share some first-hand experiences that I’ve learnt along the way, on how to survive MWC.

First step, wear comfy shoes! (Did you see what I did there?) There’s nothing worse than arriving at a venue to be confronted by the realisation that you’re going to be on your feet all day. What’s worse is that it’s around a million net square feet of exhibit space.

Sleep is key, make sure you’re well rested before the fun begins. The excitement from all the new releases and information in the show will only get you so far, at some point you’re going to crash and burn! Sleep when you CAN – Before and during!

Travel light on the day – I’m not kidding this is easier said than done, but it’s the best policy. You’ll be carting your bag around with you everywhere and honestly the essentials will be enough. There is also a lot to be said for the merchandise that you pick up on your travels, the odd charger, pens and notebook will keep you going.

Essentials for the day bag should include water to keep you well hydrated, and snacks to keep you ahead of the game and sharp as a tac. Make sure you have your ticket and a map of the venue preferably ahead of the first day, so you can plan and prepare. Scope out the major seminars and talks you’d like to attend and get to them early, to make sure you get a space!

Make sure you take notes on the things that matter, or better yet, use your phone to film or record audio of the best bits. You can either use this to create your best takeaways of the day on social or use it to feedback to your team and help to share the knowledge you’ve heard.

A massive life saver for me in the past has been a USB battery pack, if you don’t have one of these, invest in one quickly. The battery life of a smartphone these days is frugal and as soon as you need to take down the number of the Head of Marketing for that major company you’ve been trying to get the attention of for the last 6 months, your phone will undoubtedly slap you in the face with a computer says no scenario and go for the long nap – expect it!

Another essential is business cards and don’t forget them! With over 170,000+ attendees at some of these things, you are going to meet a lot of awesome people and the last thing you want to forget is your contact details to share with them.

Avoid booking in business meetings on the first day of an event, as it is always super-crowded and you’ll meet lots of people that you’ll want to network with straight away. The last thing you need is to meet a great contact and have to rush off. Take your time, it’s not a race!

Leave a good amount of time between meetings, it can take 20 minutes to get inside a hall and 1 – 2 hours to get off site. Your first day is on some occasions a bit of a write-off as you spend a lot of your time trying to get your bearings and seeing the most popular seminars or stands. The next few days are where you can start to get to places on time and really network. Get to places early so you can avoid queues and traffic jams. It sounds easier said than done, but it can be the difference between getting in or missing that highly important meeting.

Be prepared to party… Some of the best networking takes place after hours. Make sure you RSVP and get there early!

So, with all that in mind, there are lots of great conferences, events and networking opportunities out there and there is so much to experience, see, do and learn from, so live them to the full.

Enjoy your show!