6 Tips for a Newcomer at EXPO! EXPO!

By: Maxx Lebiecki, Account Executive, Association of Equipment Manufacturers

We’ve all been there before – a friend or coworker invites us somewhere on short notice.  Although not really interested, we decide to tag along to be nice, but wind up having a wonderful time. Or the flip side – we choose to miss out on an event that turns out to be the talk of the town.

The situation reminds me of hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzke’s insightful statement, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

Technically speaking, it is impossible to miss a shot you don’t take. That being said, your “shot,” translated to networking and meeting people, could mean the difference between an open or closed door in the future.

One thing that I left Expo! Expo! 2016 in Anaheim excited about was the opportunity for more involvement. I made a conscious decision to put myself out there, meet new people and connect/network constantly. Those decisions led to opportunities beyond what I could have imagined. In just a few short months, I found myself joining committees, gaining a YP Spotlight feature, being interviewed by Exhibitions Mean Business on where I see our industry headed and most recently being recognized as an industry trendsetter.

In 2016, I was proud to be recognized at Expo! Expo! as one of the top 20 under 30 in the industry. Anaheim was my first Expo! Expo!, and I look forward to attending many more to come. I would like to share 6 key takeaways that enriched my experience in hopes that they will be useful for you as well:

1. Go to Everything (Practice your ‘FOMO’)

While it is impossible to be in two places at once, look at scheduled events beforehand and really scope out what you think will benefit you most. Connect with others pre-show and onsite, listen and look for after hour events, meet and mingle with every person you can and do a solid vetting of what education classes will benefit you as an individual. Trust me when I say that the hardest part will be showing up. After that, it’s all easy-going…not to mention the food is usually delicious.

2. Try to get involved

Make note of those you connect with while at events or education sessions. Are they in a leadership position? Are they well connected? Be sure to take notice of these things. Let other professionals know that you are interested in becoming involved. Everyone is looking for help in one way or another. A connection today could lead to an opportunity months, or even years down the road.

3. Connect with Everyone

This should go without saying, but bring a stack of business cards with you. Bring them to your classes, bring them on the show floor and most importantly bring them to all networking events. Add your connections on LinkedIn after, and add a message that will make people remember you. It could be as simple as “It was great meeting you at Wednesday’s IAEE networking event.” After all, that’s what these events are for!

4. Be Nice to Everyone – Attitude is Everything

Sounds simple, right? It can be more difficult than you think. Sometimes after long workdays, travelling and missing our loved ones, we can become distracted and appear to be standoff-ish.  “Dressing the part” and the way you carry yourself can (in some cases, not all) be just as important as how well you may know the industry, or how much you feel like you can offer. Dress for the job you want. Even if you don’t feel like it, think of every experience as though this is the greatest thing you have ever attended. Your body language will follow. No one wants to work with someone who is difficult to talk to or won’t give him or her the time of day.

5. Ask for help/intros

As a sales person, I would compare this to cold calling vs. word of mouth. In my experience, people are more inclined to trust you and get to know you when someone else that they know (and trust) introduces you. In addition, it can help with any awkwardness that you may encounter when meeting someone new. There can be a fine line to the etiquette of asking, but don’t be afraid to politely ask someone to make an introduction for you. The worst that can happen is that they say no.

6. Create Your Path

Last, but certainly not least, be sure to create your own path. Your path, or end goal is something that should be in the back of your mind throughout your stay. Think beforehand what you want to accomplish. Write it down. Remember it. Whether your end goal is to join a committee, meet 15 new people or make a sale – in the end YOU are in charge of your own path to success.

Networking is not always easy, but taking these things into account at events, such as Expo! Expo! can really help you take a step in the right direction. I look forward to meeting you in San Antonio!

Need a start with a connection? Add me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maxxlebiecki/




IAEE Awards Spotlight on Cassie Thompson: 2015 Young Professional of the Year Award Recipient

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Cassie Thompson has garnered significant accomplishments at SmithBucklin as Manager, Event Services as well as through her IAEE volunteerism and dedication to the industry. In only two years she was promoted twice and began pursuit of her CEM designation, all while serving on the IAEE Midwestern Chapter Board of Directors. Her ideas for leveraging social media, new networking events and member acquisition programs has contributed to the growth of the chapter. As chair of the chapter’s Young Professionals Committee, she developed new programs/ideas to attract and retain YPs to IAEE. A great example is the creation of a justification tool kit to help young professionals obtain approval to attend IAEE events. As part of her regular duties with SmithBucklin, she oversees five shows in a variety of industries. Her leadership and innovation has allowed her shows to grow and achieve outstanding results for her clients. She has demonstrated a thirst for knowledge, new ideas and sharing of those ideas that will help her become a future IAEE leader for years to come, which earned her the 2015 Young Professional of the Year Award. Here, Cassie shares her perspective as a young professional and how she plans to impact the industry in the future.

As a young professional, what interests you most about the exhibitions and events industry?

It sounds corny, but one of my favorite things about the exhibitions and events industry is the fact that we help create lifetime memories for our conference participants. I find it fascinating that there is literally an association for everything. A few years ago, I was frustrated at work and I remember saying to my supervisor “Why do we even do this? It seems so pointless; all this work just for it to be over so quickly.” His response was that we may not be curing cancer, but by collaborating at the medical conference we’re planning, our attendees could find a cure. That’s always stuck with me.

You are very involved in the IAEE Midwestern Chapter and were highly commended for your initiative in forming the chapter’s YP Committee. Why do you feel it is important for YPs to be involved in their local chapter?

Being involved in your local chapter helps you understand the industry more holistically and therefore, makes your work more fulfilling. Attending chapter meetings keeps you up-to-date on industry trends and issues. It also helps you build a great network of people you can learn from and share best practices with. Just recently, I was tasked with helping to update the event crisis management plan template within my department at SmithBucklin. Through the connections I made by being involved as a Young Professional with IAEE, I was able to reach out to people outside of SmithBucklin to learn about how they manage their crisis communication plans and gather insights I wouldn’t have otherwise learned.

Of course, there’s a social aspect to it as well. Many of the YPs I’ve met through IAEE, I now consider my friends. Just recently, two of our chapter’s YPs found themselves at the same hotel in Phoenix for different events. They walked right past each other at first, not aware they were in the same place. After they exchanged some texts about each other’s “doppelganger” being at the hotel, they realized that they were in fact at the same hotel and ended up meeting for a drink. If it wasn’t for being involved with IAEE, they would have never known each other.

What is your best networking resource and how do you use it?

I’m a naturally introverted person, so attending industry events with people I already know and making new introductions through them is what I’ve found most successful. Once I’ve made the initial introduction, I’m a big fan of connecting on LinkedIn to keep in touch and in some cases, even Facebook. I have a large network of vendor partners, clients, and past and present colleagues, many of whom I keep up with via social media. It’s great to be able to see that someone changed jobs or that one of their kids just had a birthday, as it gives you something to talk about the next time you see them.

What advice would you offer someone entering the industry?

My biggest piece of advice to people just entering the industry is to step outside of your comfort zone. If you don’t know anyone, education and networking events can be very intimidating at first, but they are worth it. Accept the fact that it’s going to be awkward, and just put yourself out there to meet people. Trust me, it gets better. And find a mentor or two. I met many of the people I know today through people who mentored me when I was just starting out. The people who invited me to IAEE Midwestern Chapter events and let me tag along as they introduced me to people they knew – I can’t thank them enough. By the time I was able to attend my first IAEE Expo! Expo!, I felt like I already had a small network, which made navigating the conference much easier.

What motivates you to give your best to the industry? Do you have any specific goals you would like to achieve in the near future?

As I was beginning my career, I always said that whatever I ended up doing, I wanted to make a difference in the field I was in. One of the goals on my list was to write articles about what I was doing, and now I’m answering these questions, so I suppose that’s a start! My long-term career goal is to get experience in as many different aspects of the business as I can, and culminate my career as the event director for a really large event. Short-term, I’m working to obtain my CEM designation through IAEE, which I’ll be completing this year.

The one thing that ultimately motivates me to give my best to the industry is putting on outstanding events for my clients. This can come in many forms – exceeding sales and registration budgets, successfully implementing new ideas, and delivering an experience for participants that keeps them coming back year over year.

The 2016 Call for Nominations for the IAEE Awards is now open! Visit www.iaee.com/awards for more information about the various award categories and their corresponding criteria as well as submit your nominations for deserving colleagues whose outstanding efforts merit recognition.

Your Favorite Productivity Trick Is Actually Slowing You Down

Originally Published by Lindsey Pollack, 18 March 2016

I bet I know what you’re doing right now. You’re reading this post, singing along to the “Hamilton” soundtrack and composing a text on your phone. If you’re a level 5 multitasker, you may also be chopping up a salad for dinner or running on the treadmill, too. You’re a productivity ninja, right?

Here’s the thing: Even if we think we’re more productive when we’re multitasking, we’re actually not. (Why is there so much olive oil in the salad? Oh, right. Mismeasured while posting an Instagram pic.) This is especially problematic at work. Responding to texts while you’re on a conference call means your mind is working twice as hard — and actually slowing down — as you flip back and forth.

I rounded up some of the latest research on why multitasking is a productivity myth and tips on how to still get all your work done, one task at a time.

Surprise! Only Computers Are Supposed to Multitask

“According to Gary Keller, author of the #1 Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling book, ‘The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results,’ ‘multitasking’ first appeared in the 1960s to describe computers, not people. Computers were becoming so ‘fast’ that a whole new word was needed to describe a computer’s ability to quickly perform many tasks. Originally the term ‘multitasking’ referred to multiple tasks alternately sharing one resource (the CPU). However, the interpretation of multitasking has shifted to mean multiple tasks being done simultaneously by one resource (a person).” —  Read more at HR Cloud.

Can You Hear Me Now? Not If You’re Not Paying Attention

“We’re not being the most productive when we’re half listening to someone while checking our phone, Facebook, and LinkedIn all at once (also, it’s just plain rude).To be a better listener (and get the info you need the first time), face the speaker and look him/her right in the eye, and stay present with the conversation. Who cares if you have 12 unread emails? This person deserves your attention.” —  Read more at Greatist.

Addicted to Multitasking? It’s All in Your Head — Literally

“Serious media multitasking is beginning to be recognized as a neural addiction. Multitasking increases production of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Increased amounts of these hormones overstimulate the brain, causing fuzzy thinking. In addition, the prefrontal cortex prefers external stimulation and rewards reading every post, Internet search or message with a burst of endogenous opioids [an opiate-like substance — like an endorphin — released by the body]. Essentially, this feedback loop rewards the brain for losing focus.” —  Read more at Computerworld.

Multitasking Actually Takes More Time Than Single Tasking

“Think you’re saving yourself more time by working on multiple tasks at once? Not the case! Every time you stop what you’re doing to work on another task, you lose seconds, or even minutes. This may not seem like much, but in reality, it is estimated that multitasking can lead to up to a 40% loss of your productivity per day.” — Read more at Lifehack.

Old-Fashioned To Do Lists Can Keep You on Task, One Task at a Time

“For people like myself, it’s important to take a step back every now and then and think about how slowing down can help you to be better at your job. A good way to manage your work is by creating an old-fashioned to-do list, with all of your tasks organized in order of importance. Sometimes simply writing down a list of all of your goals helps to structure your day, so you can tackle the big stuff before focusing on menial tasks. You can even integrate your to-do list into your calendar app and set reminders to keep yourself on track.” —  Read more at The VAR Guy.

Are you a die-hard multitasker? Persuaded to try single-tasking? I’d love to hear the productivity hacks that work for you. Please share in the comments!


It’s Not About You: What You Really Need to Know About Your Personal Brand

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak.

In 1997, business guru Tom Peters wrote an article for Fast Company, “The Brand Called You.” The timing for this revolutionary concept was especially powerful for me, as a recent college graduate just beginning  my career.

Now, I know the phrase “personal brand” can turn some people off (much like the word “networking.”) If it sounds too salesy or buzzwordy to you, I totally understand; all we’re talking about it is the concept of professional reputation.

No matter what you choose to call it, here are three truths I’ve learned about personal branding:

It’s not about you; it’s about how others see you.

Every one of us has to be proactive in creating our persona – you don’t want to leave how people see you up to chance.

And that’s where my take on personal branding is a little different from most others. You might have your own ideas and desires for your personal brand, but if that’s not how people see you, it doesn’t matter what you think. Their perception of your personal brand is the reality.

And if you’re a millennial, you might have an even greater hurdle: Fair or not, many people have preconceived notions about what a millennial is even before they meet you (see: entitled, narcissistic, tech-addicted), and you have to overcome those negatives.

It’s up to you to find out how people see you.

Before you can change their perception, you have to know what it is. Here’s an exercise: Make two lists, the first with three words or statements you think others would say about you (i.e., your current personal brand), and the second with three things you want them to say about you (i.e., your ideal personal brand). Determine if there’s crossover, and then choose tangible actions you can take to project more of the attributes on the second list. I do this exercise in my Millennial training programs and it can have very powerful results.

If you’re not sure what people would say about you, it’s time for some sleuthing. One strategy is to check out your LinkedIn endorsements to see attributes others are ascribing to you. It’s not an exact science; but, for example, I would be concerned if I wasn’t being endorsed for “public speaking” or “leadership,” because I consider those to be important components of the reputation I’ve worked hard to build.

If your company does annual reviews, another way to determine your current reputation is to pay close attention to your manager’s or colleagues’ feedback and the words or phrases they use to describe you. (If you don’t have a review coming up, you can work up your courage to directly ask trusted friends or colleagues how they perceive you as a professional.)

Why are other people’s perceptions so important? Because it’s often hard to judge ourselves honestly. A friend who started her career in a busy PR agency prided herself on “getting it all done,” and was completely blindsided when her supervisor complimented her on her results, but then added, “You always have a little flurry surrounding you, like you’re stressed or late.” That really gave her pause: Her good work was being negated by her frenetic style. Based on that feedback, she started coming in earlier to ensure she had ample time to complete her work more calmly and planning ahead to alleviate last-minute rushes.

It’s never too early — or too late.

Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned executive, an entrepreneur or a manager, it’s wise to take stock of your personal brand, knowing that it will have a significant effect on your professional success. And, remember that as you mature in your career, your personal brand is likely to evolve as well.

As Peters said in his article that introduced the world to the concept, “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

These words still ring true today, and the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to assess and recalibrate.

How has your personal brand evolved with your career? Let me know in the comments!

How to Make 2016 Your Best Year Ever

Originally published January 8, 2016 by Lindsey Pollak

As you set your New Year’s resolutions (mine include eating less sugar and reading more fiction — book recommendations welcome!), don’t forget to set some professional goals. To get you started, I rounded up career advice that will help young professionals catapult to the next level. And, here’s a secret: If you’re a more seasoned professional, these tips will work for you, too. It’s always smart to go back to the basics for a career reboot no matter what rung of the ladder you’re on.

Focus on Work That Gets Results

“You’re already task-oriented — now, says [career coach Stacia] Pierce, it’s time to resolve to become results-oriented. ‘By becoming more result-oriented, you will also become more productive,’ she says. Start by setting a personal goal to achieve daily milestones. You can do this, Pierce says, ‘by writing a list of top-three goals that need to be accomplished on a daily basis. Even if your overall work list is longer, as long as you accomplish those top-three goals, you will feel more productive overall.’ It’s also smart to align your goals with those of your boss. ‘Find out what is important to her, and include that in your daily count — that way, when you’re done, your boss will also feel your sense of accomplishment.’”Glamour

Keep Learning

“Even if you’re not looking to continue your formal education, look for opportunities to learn and grow within your field. Check out professional societies that often have relevant events, workshops and seminars. The opportunity to learn from peers and industry mentors is important to professional development – at All Points, each team member hosts a monthly seminar throughout the year to share knowledge on different industry related topics. Consider starting something similar in your office.” All Points PR

Connect to Your Professional Community

“When you connect to your professional community it means you are connecting with the most committed and best-connected people in your profession; that has to be worth a little ongoing time and effort when who you know can be so important in terms of successful career management. … Anyone anywhere can join LinkedIn and become actively involved with the profession specific groups, increasing contacts, credibility and visibility. If you live in a metropolitan area, involvement in the local chapter of at least one professional association is the single best thing you can do for your career.CareerCast

Think Beyond the Resume

“If you’re relying on a piece of paper to get you hired in 2016, you might as well also be delivering it to your hiring manager of choice via carrier pigeon (wait a second…that might work). Commit this coming year to choosing alternative approaches to advance your career and to not pulling out your resume until asked point-blank for it by a fellow human who is looking you directly in the eye at the time. Focus on creating reputation-building work that can be shared. Dig into pruning and strengthening your professional networks on LinkedIn or Twitter. Send cold emails. Ask for introductions. Invite anyone and everyone for coffee and collect a single career tip from each meeting. Follow any or all of these ideas and you’ll end 2016 much further ahead than if you’d spent months thinking about how to bulletize your work experience and pair your achievements with just the right action verb.”Forbes

Become a Better Time Manager

“Time is an invaluable asset and should be spent wisely. Learning where to expend energy, and where not to, has innumerable benefits, including less stress, more free time, fewer mistakes and improved production. Forbes writer Jeff Boss suggests spending a week making a list of everyday distractions – the things that occupy time throughout the day but serve little purpose. Then eliminate them, or set aside an hour every day for tending to those diversions.”International Business Times

What’s on your career resolution list? I’d love to hear – please share with me in the comments!

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, and the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.


Help! My Boss Is a Millennial — and I’m Not!

Originally published 11 December 2015 By Lindsey Pollak.

We talk a lot about how managers can work with millennials — but what about when a millennial is your boss? It’s a situation that will become increasingly prevalent, since millennials are now the largest demographic in today’s workplace. In my book, Becoming the Boss, I help millennials with their managerial skills, but if you’re a Baby Boomer or a Gen Xer on the other side of the desk, you might need some advice, too. Keep reading for tips for successfully working with Gen Y managers.

What To Do When Your Boss Is Younger Than You – Fast Company. “When someone is younger than you are, it’s innate for many to take on an older brother or sister role. It’s okay to manage up, by all means, but you want to be careful not to come off as condescending. This will only irritate an already uncomfortable situation, and won’t do you any good if you are trying to show your boss that the age difference doesn’t bother you. If you have advice or recommendations based on experience that you feel will help your manager and your team as a whole, be thoughtful in your delivery and phrase it as something strategic for the business.”

4 Ways to Work with a Millennial Boss – Mashable. “It’s important to remember that your boss was hired to be a manager for a reason, and regardless of how it makes you feel, you need to learn how to work for him or her without those toxic emotions getting in the way. The bottom line: It’s up to you to make the relationship a good one. … If working for someone respectively young makes you feel uncomfortable, chances are good that your boss might feel a tad uncomfortable, too. And if your boss is also managing people who are five, 10 or 20 years older, you can bet he or she faces the occasional challenge or passive-aggressive ‘when I was your age…’ comment from subordinates. Consider what it’s like to be in his or her position, and commit to showcasing a respectful attitude when you’re at work.”

How to Work for a Boss Who’s Decades Younger Than You  – Inc. “Workologist reader Mary Jacobs wrote that the key to having great relationship with a much younger boss is to put your stubborness aside and recognize that you both need to learn from one another. ‘She saw how I could help her–but that didn’t mean she always wanted the hard-earned-wisdom point of view. If she didn’t follow my advice, I let it go.’ Additionally, you need to treat your younger boss just like any other boss–and that means not being outright disrespectful when your boss does something you disagree with. ‘Respect the authority of your boss,’ said reader William Cannon. “Be strategic about demonstrating your experience and wisdom. Hold your tongue and allow your expertise to slip out a bit at a time, and work toward consensus with your boss and larger work team.’”

Working for a Younger Boss – AARP. “When Ruth Sovronsky, 63, took a new job as development director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the fact that her boss was a decade younger didn’t faze her. … ‘It’s a question of attitude,’ Sovronsky says. ‘Age is irrelevant if you know how to be collaborative. As you get older, you let go of your need to prove to the world that you know it all and recognize that everyone has something to offer.’ This generational pas de deux plays a bigger role in the workplace today than ever before, as many people delay retirement. A big challenge for older workers is taking orders from someone who’s the age of their kids. Some older employees grumble that their younger supervisors act like they know more than they do. But by adopting a can-do attitude like Sovronsky, and by following a few rules of thumb, you may find that making it work is not as hard as you might think.”

When Your Boss Is Younger than You – Harvard Business Review. “Generational differences in the workplace are often a challenge, but dealing with a younger boss is perhaps the most difficult. ‘It’s not so much the age thing as the experience thing,’ says Peter Cappelli, professor of management at the Wharton School and coauthor of Managing the Older Worker. In another context it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Say, for instance, you are taking a ski lesson from an instructor who’s 20 years younger than you but has been skiing for 15 years.‘That’s not going to bother you. But if you’ve been in business for 20 years and your boss has been in business for 10, you might think, ‘Why am I taking orders from this person?’ His authority doesn’t seem legitimate.’ … ‘First, don’t assume he’s going to be a bad boss just because he’s younger,’ says Cappelli. “Why manufacture problems before you have them?’ Think positive.”

Have you worked for a boss younger than you? What was the hardest part and what did you learn?

What You Can Learn from a Bad Boss

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak

Got a Horrible Boss? Well, lucky you!

Stay with me for a minute. The truth is, having a terrible boss early in your career can present a hugely valuable learning opportunity that you might not recognize.

Like most people, I’ve had my share of challenging bosses. Here are three lessons I learned from the experience that you can too:

  1. Even bad managers can be right about something (and maybe lots of things).

No detail was too minor for one of my bosses, a real stickler for the small things. If I was sending a fax (yes…that was our speedy mode of communication in the ‘90s), my boss would insist that I type the cover sheet in a particular font size and style, which seemed like a monumental waste of time (but made the fax instantly recognizable as coming from our firm). If I was putting together a luncheon meeting, she wanted a wide variety of details on the restaurant in a written memo even if she’d been there before – from the table layouts to the closest parking lots and what she’d ordered in the past. I frequently had to call a restaurant multiple times to get the information she wanted, but all of that effort always made the actual meeting go more smoothly.

What I learned from this micromanaging was that small things do matter. I learned how attending to the details could bolster my own personal brand as an organized, detail-oriented professional.

No matter how prickly your boss, try to identify a redeeming takeaway, even if it takes a treasure hunt to find it.

  1. A bad manager will teach you what NOT to do.

When I was doing research for my book Becoming the Boss, one of the pieces of advice I heard over and over from professionals at all stages of their careers was “I learned how to be a good leader by doing the opposite of what my worst managers did.” I wholeheartedly agree: I once had a boss who paid me monthly. She was always a few days late paying me and would make a big show of the inconvenience of going to the ATM for my cash. I’ve had my own business for 13 years and have never paid an invoice late because I remember how disrespected I felt by her treatment.

Whether your bad manager makes you stay late without notice or takes credit for your work, remember how you feel – and promise that you won’t ever do what is being done to you.

  1. A bad manager will allow you to appreciate an awesome one.

The sad truth is that most bosses aren’t good, and that stuns a lot of workers who are just starting out. But whether you work for someone who rivals Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada, or a lazy manager who never gives feedback, someday you’ll realize that although bad bosses come in different shapes and sizes, they are often the rule rather than the exception. Recognizing this not only allows you to appreciate a great boss, but also will help you learn to look for red flags when you’re in the interview process in the future – so you can avoid those bad apples from the start.

As you move through your career, you will eventually learn how to deal with difficult people, and if they’re totally toxic you’ll learn to name it as such (it’s them, not you) and move on as fast as you can. But hopefully you’ll take the time to find a silver lining with every bad boss – and file it away for when you’re the one in charge.

Steal-Worthy Networking Ideas

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Most of us have heard this career advice, but it is true that who you know can help propel your career. Whether it’s someone you meet at an industry event, an informational interview or a new friend at the juice bar, being a savvy networker can pay dividends for your career. Keep reading for great advice on networking for millennials – or professionals at any stage of their career.

5 Steps for Networking with Powerful People (It’s Easier Than You Think) – TheMuse.com. “Your meeting isn’t a stage for you to recite your resume and tell this influencer how outstanding you are. She’ll be more impressed if you actively listen. Show her you’re present and engaged and that you’re following along with what she’s saying. Ask questions—after all, you want her opinion. Also, consider how you can help the person you’re meeting with. For example, I once met with a federal district court judge in her 70s who had broken through enough glass ceilings for a hundred women. But while her intellectual acumen was nothing short of spectacular, keeping up with modern technology was not her forté (no one can be a master of everything). We were discussing her side project, and I realized what she needed was an intern. Blogging? Photoshop? This was something best handled by a Millennial! Voilá, something quick and easy for me to help her with. And just like that, we had a reason to stay in touch and grow our friendship.”

Networking is Over. Welcome Sweatworking? – Fast Company. “Kanesha Baynard, a Bay Area transition coach who works with job seekers and others, says sweatworking is also a great strategy for job seekers trying to build their network in a new city. She suggests proposing an activity that you know the other person enjoys (maybe a mutual contact tells you Bob loves to cycle, or his LinkedIn profile tips you off), not necessarily one that you’re great at. ‘If you have been participating in a certain activity for a while, you may want to think about trying a new or neutral activity, so the person you invite to sweatwork does not feel intimidated,’ she explains. In addition to scheduling one-on-one or small sweatworking sessions, a growing number of gyms, fitness studios, and other companies offer more structured sweatworking events so that fitness-conscious entrepreneurs or young professionals can meet and mingle.”

How to Talk to Anyone at a Networking Event – Business Insider. “[Marketing consultant Jon] Levy has a topic ready to fill in moments of uncomfortable silence that arise between people who don’t know much about one another. ‘I always have a story of something I’ve been doing recently or a book that I’ve been reading,’ he says….You should strive to be memorable when you’re meeting new people, and the best way to do so is through good storytelling. When you tell a story, make sure it has a clear point and a punch line, whether a takeaway or a joke. Most people just aren’t interesting in the way they communicate, Levy says. He thinks Americans in particular apply their efficient approach at work to how they meet people, talking in boring, direct ways about themselves. A good way to avoid the so-called ‘interview’ approach is to stop using talking about your job as a crutch.”

Networking for Millennials: How to Make It Useful – FlexJobs. “While fellow millennials and people in your industry are bound to be a significant part of your network, pushing beyond your comfort zone can have a huge payoff. ‘Make and build contacts with people who aren’t just like you—different backgrounds, different interests, different ages,” says Patti DeNucci, author of The Intentional Networker: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Results in Business. ‘Generational intelligence and network diversity are key to gaining rich and varied perspectives and in building a truly strong network. Try being with people who are 5, 10, 15, or even 20 years ahead on the career path. Talk to and get to know people doing a wide range of jobs and having a wide range of experiences. It’s how you know where you want to be.’”


Building on Your Expo! Expo! Experience

By Megan Miglautsch, Latin America Marketing Manager, Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)

Last year was my first time going to Expo! Expo!. I didn’t know anyone outside of my fellow co-workers at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). I was relieved to find that there were networking events for first timers, people in my chapter, and young professionals. People were open, friendly, and made an effort to include and introduce others, so I quickly made connections.

IAEE Chapter Receptions will be held 1 December 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Find your chapter reception location here

The year prior, AEM had decided to launch a construction equipment show in Latin America. So, while I had been working in the market as a part of our Global Business Development department for a few years, I was very new to my role as the Marketing Manager. Our Chief Marketing Director, Nicole Hallada, suggested that I take a look at some of the education sessions offered at Expo! Expo! and it turned out there were a couple of courses that were very applicable to my new position.

The most impactful sessions for me were the international ones. I specifically remember one panel that talked about how important it was to not only translate the message into the local language, but also culturally adapt it. They gave concrete examples of what that meant in different markets for event marketing. That session taught me so much and gave me key insights as I took on the challenges of marketing a new event in a different culture and foreign languages this past year. I continue to apply knowledge I learned at Expo! Expo! to our international marketing plans for all of AEM’s tradeshows.

All of my superiors also attended Expo! Expo! and we walked the show floor together to talk with current and potential vendors. We do a lot of business with the exhibitors there, and it was a great way to get a quality introduction to people and their products or services. We also were able to learn a lot about different technologies and programs to make our office more efficient. I particularly found the quick overview sessions at the tech bar to be very helpful and we have incorporated some of those programs we learned about at Expo! Expo! into our operations at AEM.

Start planning your tradeshow floor visit and don’t forget to stop by the new Technology Startup Pavilion!

Our Vice President of Exhibitions, Megan Tanel, also encouraged me to get involved with IAEE because I was attending the Expo. That was an excellent decision for me because it provided the opportunity to learn from my peers and be a part of the industry at large through the Young Professionals Committee. Now, as I head back to Expo! Expo! again this year, I have a network that I can bounce ideas off of and ask for recommendations. I consider it an important place to learn from the experience of the industry veterans.

Expo! Expo! and IAEE are great resources to find answers to questions, educate myself, and make connections.


Please remember that all show organizers, regardless of IAEE membership status, may attend the Expo! Expo! trade show for free. REGISTER NOW!

My Expo! Expo! Experience

By Mary Higham, CEM, Manager, Exhibits with ASIS International

Still on the fence about signing up for Expo!Expo!?

Expo!Expo! is by far the best gathering of exhibition and event professionals each year. It is an absolute must attend event, whether you are a young professional or seasoned industry veteran. The networking and education are invaluable. Additionally, as an event organizer, attending Expo!Expo! will give you the perspective to be better at your job. Be it finding a new vendor, meeting a peer to bounce ideas off of in the future, or even being able to experience an event from the attendee perspective, Expo!Expo! will enrich your career and job skills. Even if your company won’t finance the registration, it’s important to invest in yourself and your future. I certainly did.


When I was at the beginning of my career and just starting my CEM designation, my (former) employer told me that they were not able to finance either my CEM or my Expo! Expo! registration. Though I was still paying off student loans, I decided to finance my own way, and it was one of the best investments I ever made.

I resolved to try to find at least one takeaway from each session. Even if it wasn’t events and exhibitions knowledge, there are many sessions that offer insights into personal branding, professional development, and personal wellness. On the Expo! Expo! show floor, I discovered new vendors, some of whom we have ended up later contracting with.

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Since the only person I knew attending was my boss, I never expected the level of networking that I encountered; I was able to meet new people in sessions, receptions, and even the hotel lobby, and ended up finding incredible peers, mentors, and even some of my now closest friends. Even as a newcomer to the industry, everyone was incredibly friendly and hospitable to me, and I found it to be an excellent illustration of the people in our industry.

View Expo! Expo Networking Opportunities

Through connections I made at my first Expo! Expo! I found volunteer opportunities both at the local chapter, of which I am currently a board member, and on national committees like the Young Professionals Committee and CEM Commission. Being a member of these committees has opened doors for me in connecting with other members across the country, not to mention as ways to give back to the industry. Additionally, through connections I made at Expo! Expo! I was given the opportunity to interview for my current position. The letter of recommendation to the hiring manager (my current boss) was sent on my behalf by an industry peer, and I was later told influenced my getting the initial interview. Being able to discourse about Expo!Expo!, and our experiences with IAEE was a topic in our interview, and I believe influenced my being considered a “fit” for the department. (I remain convinced that the initial conversations about our mutual lack of “winning” at the prize stage bonded us for life).

a2z Apple Watch Giveaway & 2015 Grand Prize Sweepstakes

Now that I have had the opportunities to attend many Expo! Expo!s since that first one, nothing has changed for me. I still find excellent takeaways from the sessions; I always seem to find new products and exhibitors with a lot to offer and usually find at least one new vendor each year. I greatly enjoy meeting new people who are facing similar issues and can discuss solutions, collaborations, and ideas.

Don’t waste another minute to capitalize on the future opportunities that Expo! Expo! can provide you. It’s time to get off of the fence and register! I look forward to seeing you in Baltimore!


If you have any questions about my experiences at Expo!Expo! please feel free to email me at Mary.Higham@asisonline.org.