The article is written by Mohammad Abu Musa, Etohum Ambassador at UAE.
Startup Istanbul is a must-attend event, without the right strategy you will end up spending hours and dollars without real added value to get out of the conference.
I am sharing some tips I found useful to get the best out of Startup Istanbul, where you can tap into important opportunities, useful connections, and have fun.
1. Start networking now
Many interesting speakers are joining the conference, start connecting now. Send quick email or tweet a few weeks ahead of time sharing how excited you are to hear his or her talk in the conference. On the conference day arrive 15 to 20 minutes before the session start in hopes of catching the speaker before the session starts.
If it is a fellow attendee you are looking to meet, take the advantage of the speed networking where you have 90 seconds to connect with each person. So do not forget to bring lots of business cards.
2. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
Before you arrive to the conference, make sure you understand your goals, sort them out, and share them with your team (if so). Make sure you are chasing your most important goals first by asking the basic question of why I am here?
3. Take the advantage of the first day
Make sure you are there the first day prepared and ready, some speakers or attendees may not be able to attend the whole conference, or want to catch an early flight. So make sure you connect with them before they leave.
4. It is Istanbul: eat, drink, and enjoy
Take care of yourself, enjoy your time there. Have some Kabab, keep hydrated, get good night sleep and refresh with group activities. You do not want to consume yourself first day.
5. It is about you, not them
Figure out what is the most important for you not anyone else, some most interesting deals, connections, or even friends are made during side chats or small sessions rather than big keynotes or major sessions. It is about your goals not what is trending on Twitter.
6. Do not run the office and the conference at the same time
Dedicate a couple of hours for the office if there are issues you have to handle during conference days. Keep your focus on your goals during the conference and leave distractions behind.
7. Make sure you are connected to your team
If you are attending the conference with a team, make sure you are connected to your team. You do not want to look up the number of your sales person when it is the time to make that sale. Before you leave make sure everyone is onboard on Slack channel, WhatsApp group, or Facebook messenger
8. Make the best out of the sessions you are attending
Prepare yourself for sessions you are going to attend, familiarize yourself with the session topic ahead of time, and review the sparks’ blog posts, or other writing and videos. During these sessions you can contribute, share, and connect with others not only learn and watch.
9. Speared the good
Do not hesitate to share your experience with others; also on the other way do not hesitate to learn from others. If this is the first time attending Startup Istanbul, ask others about their experience and pitfalls to avoid also do not forget to ask about the best places to visit in Istanbul.
10. Accept your experience
It’s important to be prepared before you arrive, however sometimes opportunities come from unexpected places and unplanned activities. Remember to be spontaneous, have fun, and make the best out of Startup Istanbul.