So you're going to the Learning Technologies Exhibition and Conference, but how do you make the most of it? Our top tips (as recommended by members of our eLearning Professionals Group on LinkedIn) give you all the advice you need pre-, during, and post-event. Think we've missed anything? - Let us know!
PracticalitiesGetting to the show
The Exhibition takes place at Olympia 2, in London. The best way to get to the event is by public transport. Kensington Olympia tube and train station is closest but it is only a brisk walk from stations such as Hammersmith, High Street Kensington and Shepherd’s Bush.
If you are coming by bus Olympia is served by the following routes:
Hammersmith Road: 9, 10, 27, 28
· Holland Road: 49
· North End Road: 391
Finding a place to stay
The official hotel booking partner for Learning Technologies 2013 and Learning and Skills 2013 is The Solutions Company and they have negotiated special event rates for a range of hotels in the vicinity.
For more information and to book your hotel please call them on 01335 345655 or visit www.thesolutionscompany.co.uk/ and they will be delighted to help.
Food and drink
The cafeteria in Olympia is legendary... For all the wrong reasons. Best to get out and about. There is a great choice of places to eat nearby and a wide range of cuisines for example:
· Pizza Express, Hammersmith Road right next to the Exhibition Centre
· Thai, Kanna Thai, 127a Hammersmith Road, W14 OQL
Persian, Mohsen, W14 8PS
Coffee. You’re going to need a lot of it to get around the show. Again, you could use the on-site cafeteria, though our group recommends you try a local cafe such as:
Betty Blythe, 73 Blythe Road, W14 0HP
· Cafe Paradiso. 129 Hammersmith Road, W14 OQL
Or use the trusty #LT13uk to ask for recommendations – maybe even find a lunch companion or two.
If you need some fresh air and have time for a little walking away from the show (it can get a little overwhelming after all), then Holland Park is a good place to go.
Or just come to the Kineo stand (no. 64) and we’ll fan a brochure gently on your face until you feel revived.
So, that's lunch and coffee sorted. How about the evening we hear you cry?
There are 760 pubs within 3 miles of Kensington Olympia station, so you have plenty of choice, though maybe not that much stamina. Some you might want to visit are:
· The Jam Tree, 58 Milson Road, W14 0LB
· The Albion, 121 Hammersmith Road, W14 0QL
· The Warwick Arms, 160 Warwick Road, W14 8PS
· The Scarsdale Tavern, 23a Edwardes Square, W8 6HE
There’s always a large elearning gang on the Wednesday night. If you want a free drink, Mark and Ian are the people to be nice to...
Are you ready(?) checklist
1. Set your objectives
Set your objectives before you set out for the event. For example:
· Why are you going? It’s nice to get away from the desk – but want do you want to bring back?
· What are your objectives in the next 12 months? Write out the top 3 objectives from your learning strategy and share them with people at stands, ask them how they could help you. It’s a good conversation opener.
· Who do you want to see? Do you want new product demos, case studies? Do you need a (new) LMS? - The more specific you can be, the better conversations you’ll have.
· Do you have a purchasing decision you need to make? Tell vendors what you want, by when and your budget. You’ll both have a more focused discussion.
2. Plan your visits - and make contact
You could spend days and never see everyone at Learning Tech. Our network recommends you do your homework – look at websites and have a plan who you want to see, think about what questions you want to ask them and have a plan. Last year’s exit poll might give you some clues as to who might be the best people to make arrangements with...
Most vendors will be more than happy to arrange a meeting with you if you make contact before the show. To arrange a meeting with us, just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Water & snacks
Bring a bottle of water and snacks to keep you going: the catering is not only expensive, but the queues are long.
4. Wear Comfy Shoes
Be prepared for a lot of walking, comfortable shows and peppermint foot lotion are recommended. Caution: For external use only.
5. Charged up?
The days are long at Learning Technologies: fully charge your phone, tablet and laptop.
Nice people at stands may be willing to give you a bit of a power surge. (We’ll keep a socket free for you at 64.)
6. Business cards
You will meet lots of people at Learning Technologies so bring plenty of business cards. Let people on stands scan you too – it saves on paper, and it doesn’t hurt as much as it sounds.
Unfortunately marketing departments now fill once useful hashtags full of marketing and promotional spam rather than useful information. (Bad marketing departments, bad!) Our advice is to identify people who are saying useful things and then follow them. Hopefully you will already be following @kineo. Where we will say only good and useful things.
Follow the Learning Technologies twitter hashtag #LT13uk for all the latest news - there is a dedicated team looking after the backchannel this year, so you only a tweet away from learning the latest and most interesting things going on at the show.
8. Going to the conference? Don't miss the exhibition
The conference is great, with lots of absorbing speakers. Do plan in time to go to the exhibition too. It's very easy to get carried away and miss the opportunities that exist in the exhibition. Make the most of lunch and breaks to see what's going on in the exhibition. Understanding the latest trends in the market should be an important element of the conference.
Exhibition Top Tips
Get the floor plan and plan what you want to see. Shortlist the stands you want to see and be clear what you want to get from your visit to the stand. If you stop at every stand, you won’t get more than a quarter way around the floor, so you have to be selective. If you want a more in depth session book a slot in advance.
At Kineo we have a private room throughout the event so email@example.com contact us to fix a time for a discussion away from the busy exhibition floor and step into an oasis of calm green...
Free Exhibition seminars
There are some great free seminars on the exhibition floor. Get the seminar guide (sponsored by Kineo) and plan the seminars you want to attend (there's one in your delegate bag).
There's lots of things going on, and often at the same time, so be prepared to make some tough decisions. We have two running, one each day:
· Weds 30th Jan @ 11am: Multi-Device e-Learning: One responsive version to rule them all
Get to the seminars early, they are often packed out and there is standing room only.
If you can’t make a seminar or afford the conference, follow someone on twitter that can. You can often find out a lot about a session via twitter including pictures and slides. Follow the official backchannel via #LT13uk.
Talk to people
It sounds obvious but talk to people on the stands. Find out what they do. Ask them what makes them different. Ask them what is new. Get a demo.
Learning Technologies is no time to be shy. If you’re not connecting on a stand or finding what you want – move on to the next one. Life is short, Learning Tech is even shorter. Ask them what is new and get a demo.
Be flexible, try again later...
If a stand is busy, come back later. Don't get draw in by those slick stands and fancy giveaways, keep an open mind and focus on getting your questions answered.
If you want to spend longer with an organisation in the exhibition, head to their stand when it's quieter: maybe first thing or later in the day. People will have more time to focus on you and you are more likely to get to be able to get to speak to the people you need or see products demonstrated.
There are a lot of vendors at the show. To get an overview to start with that’s vendor neutral, you would do well to talk to people like Elearnity. David Wilson, Adrian Jones and the whole team are experts in the market and as one network member put it “what they don’t know, isn’t worth knowing...”.
Many stands will have freebies to attract you. Take them. Take them all. Leave your shame at the door.
Our network recommends the Adobe stand for the best freebies, the Sponge stand for best free cake, and the Kineo stand to pick up your Kineo superhero. (Will actually fly. If thrown very hard.)
Join the network
Over 5,000 people are expected to attend the show in 2013. That's a lot of like-minded e-learning professionals! To ensure you make the most of the social opportunities as well as speaking to the exhibitors, follow our top 4 Learning Technologies networking tips:
1. Follow Twitter
Sign up to the twitter hashtag #LT13uk to follow what everyone is saying. Ask questions using twitter and the event hashtag, you will be surprised what you can find out from wifi codes to social events. People are generally helpful. Follow @kineo for all our updates and insights.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions via Twitter, you will be surprised at how many responses you get.
2. Share your findings
Share what you are learning both on twitter and in conversations. You will find you connect with lots of new people. Knowledge isn’t power any more – sharing is.
3. Share your details
In addition to taking lots of business cards you can create your business card as a QR code vCard (using such tools as GoQRme and Bluetooth it, or use the Bump app to send it from your phone to others' phones.
Join Kineo’s eLearning Professionals Group where we will be
running discussions and providing key updates from Learning Technologies.
Already over 6,500 elearning professionals are members of the group and use it
as a forum for asking questions and sharing e-learning experiences.