With only three weeks notice TheProfile.Company was given the opportunity to exhibit at the London Business Expo at the Excel Centre. This was a very big deal for me because not only was it the first time I exhibited for the company, but it was also the first time I had spoken on an open stage in such a big arena.
With Shaa Wasmund dropping out I was invited to take her slot. The arena was in the middle of the conference centre with open sides. I don’t know if you’ve ever spoken on such a stage but let’s just say I was warned!
The feedback and the noise is deafening and you have to do everything to keep focused on the content and on interacting with the crowd. People would join in from the side curious to know who was speaking and people would also get up and leave.
When I started the talk I had little knowledge that the majority of people waiting were actually there to hear Shaa speak. The programme hadn’t been updated. If I’d known this, along with understanding why someone wanted a photo with a ‘famous’ just as I got on stage, I might have also updated the crowd instead of letting them sit there perplexed and confused.
It was OK though. Only a few people got up and walked off. It was a little disconcerting I am not going to lie, but once it was explained to me (and I took into account the busyness of such an environment) I didn’t take it personally.
Plenty of people came to speak to us at the stall after the talk and plenty of business cards and follow up calls were made.
On our stall, we offered a 10-minute LinkedIn profile review. I had my friend Dave and a few very kind volunteers who gave up their time freely to me and helped manage the crowd. Every 30 minutes we had someone booked in and in between those times we had walk-ups.
We started at 10 am and went until 4 pm. There wasn’t even a second to eat lunch. Even getting a chance to visit the ladies proved a challenge.
It was a good two-days and I am glad of the experience. I learned a few things especially the power of having a good pre-planned follow up – and probably that having more than 3-weeks to pull something like this off is advisable.