6 life hacks to benefit from O&G business events
In October BGS Group have held our 19th event, and now it has been more than 3 years since our first International LNG Congress. It all started in 2016 when the global LNG shipping fleet consisted of 410 vessels, and short-term liquified natural gas supplies accounted for 29% of global LNG imports. In that time we have seen the growth of demand for liquified natural gas and for the new projects due to decarbonization of the industry. The companies needed to establish international partnerships and to increase shipments. Networking became vital for the industry, and we decided to create a platform where the companies could efficiently interact and discuss potential partnership and business opportunities. This platform developed and transformed, and in March 2020 we are holding the International LNG Congress for the 6th time gathering the representatives of the LNG value chain.
Thus the high need for networking remains and we see the growing number of business events in the segment. Their quality is different, and companies have to put much effort to choose the right event and get what they want from it. In this post I decided to share 6 life hacks on how to get the most out of event participation, based on our organizing experience and clients’ feedback:
1. Pinpoint areas of your interest
Make sure the topics covered at the event are relevant for you and your business. Many events have similar general topics on their programs so you will have to ask the organizer to give you as many details on presentations and speakers as possible. If you are interested in particular projects and case studies, don’t forget to mention them. Feel free to make requests and to tell about the current situation on the market, the most burning issues and projects. The more information you give, the better the organizer understands your needs and the more precise proposal you will receive. This will also allow the organizer to take your requests into account later when choosing other participants.
2. Get the coordinators’ contacts in advance
Everyone who attends business events from time to time faces difficulties in finding right people both for networking and event coordination: you have to look carefully at the badges or study the exhibition plan and catch the necessary people in the right moment and place. It takes much time and effort. To save time at the event, find out who will be responsible for coordination on site in advance and ask the organizer to give you their contacts so you will be able to address them with your questions at any time at the event.
As practice shows, it is one of the major problems at the events. To prevent troubles with navigation we found it more effective to provide all the companies with personal managers. The delegates do not have to constantly seek coordinators at event as they have a manager by their side who will help in navigation and finding the right people.
3. Get prepared for networking
Ask the organizer for the list of participants before the event and make the note of the companies and delegates you would like to meet. Find out if it is possible to schedule the meetings in advance. Decide what particularly you want to discuss with other participants, what you can offer them or what you want to get. You can check the job titles in the delegation to know which person is more convenient to discuss your question. Prepare 2-3 different presentations for the meetings in accordance with your needs and plans and types of companies you want to meet. When you arrive to the event, find the meeting zone or ask the manager on site to help you choose the appropriate place for it. At our Congress we arrange special B2B meeting rooms where the delegates can hold the meetings in calm and quiet atmosphere without too much people around them.
4. Treat the organizer like your business partner
If you establish the close contact it is easier for the organizer to meet the requests and expectations and fit the event into the current situation on the market.
We started our first congresses with simple business sessions, but the format transformed a lot and now we also arrange panel discussions and round tables as we see the need for different types of interaction. Another example refers to the choice of the venue, like it has been with the 5th LNG Congress which took place in Malta, with the LNG projects developing in there. Despite being located on an island, the event gathered representatives of 180 companies to discuss the burning issues of the industry and to visit Delimara LNG terminal.
5. Use all the promotional opportunities
Ask the organizer about all the possible ways to promote your company before, during and after the event, for example, through mailouts coverage and posts in social media, activities like moderating discussions or delivering opening speech. If you are participating as an exhibitor you can be distinguished by your exhibition stand, bring pieces of equipment and models, or rent a screen to show visitors 3D models, drafts, software. The more practice-oriented your exhibit is, the more attention you draw.
There are also some extra methods of promotion at the event: you can make posts about your participation both on your personal social media and company’s account, use the hashtags and tag the organizer. To boost promotion in social media for all participants we found it efficient to hold Twitter stream: a big screen at the exhibition area where our guests share their tweets with other delegates. Some participants use it to tell everyone where to find them and their stand.
6. Try joint projects with the organizers
Building a strong cooperation with the organizer will help you to get more perspectives in terms of cooperation and go beyond the standard limits of participation. These experiments may refer to completely different areas: starting from arranging activities at the event venue like different workshops, virtual reality experience, or organizing visitation to your venue or production site, and ending with joint media projects. Actually, visitations to the participant’s venue proved to be very relevant for the delegates: this year together with Electrogas Malta, the Host sponsor of the 5th LNG Congress we arranged visitation to the Delimara LNG terminal. Media projects may include promotion using the organizer’s media partnership network, or participation in the organizer’s own projects. As for us it is BGS Talks YouTube show where our participants tell about current projects and situation on the market, share their opinion and experience in different areas.
The situation on the market has changes but the need for networking and efficient events remains. In LNG industry with IMO 2020 and Paris Agreement coming into force, the companies are going to face new challenges: the market glut and the growing demand for new floating LNG facilities. In March 2020 the majors of the LNG industry will gather at the 6th International LNG Congress in Belgium, Brussels. We will discuss FLNG and liquefied natural gas role in decarbonization, large- and small-scale LNG projects and other relevant topics and challenges.
Article by Natalya Kuznetsova, Project Director of the International LNG Congress