Six tips to survive and thrive at your first StudyWorld for UK educators
150 educators, 300 agents, 40 service providers, and the key influencers in international education all gathered in the iconic QEII Centre in Westminster for three days of meetings, seminars, networking receptions and parties.
There is so much to love about StudyWorld, but what do experienced delegates wish they knew about the event when they attended their first one? If this isn’t your first workshop, embrace the learning process and read on, maybe there is something you hadn’t thought of!
We asked Tim Barker, the event’s commercial director and a regular at StudyWorld for his top six tips on how to survive and thrive at your first StudyWorld.
Tim will also be running seminars in our Presentation Zone on Tuesday 3 September about how to get the most out of StudyWorld.
1. Do more before: preparation means confidence
I have written about this before, but it is worth emphasising again. Preparation is crucial to making the most of a business-to-business event.
This means researching everyone that you are going to meet, preferably in more detail than just a quick glance at their website. It also means ensuring that you know your products, services, unique selling points and competitive advantages inside out.
Have a colleague test you on some of the finer details of your programmes or your agency setup. This will not only help to show the person you are meeting that you are an expert and trustworthy, it will also help you to feel more confident.
It is a great to feel competent and authoritative, give yourself a chance to enjoy it!
2. Be ready for Monday morning – know where you are going and have your appointments booked
StudyWorld starts on Monday 2 September, make a checklist of all the things that you need to be ready to go. Do you have a couple of copies of your appointment schedule with your notes? Do you know what time and where the seminars start? Do you know when registration starts and what time you need to be there? How are you getting to the QEII on the first morning? Do you have all your brochures and materials? Is your laptop or tablet fully charged?
It’s also worth planning to make sure you are fully charged with a restful weekend before the event starts. Building so many positive new partnerships takes a lot of energy. With adrenaline pumping and your mind whirring after each day of meetings, you may not get your usual eight hours of sleep!
When the event finishes, you want to go straight into your follow ups while everything is fresh, or maybe you are doing fam trips or fringe events after StudyWorld. This makes StudyWorld a week-long event and you want to keep your energy up for all of it.
3. Find a friend to network with others together
Networking isn’t easy and lots of people work hard at it. Trust me, even if everyone looks completely at ease at the networking event, they aren’t!
A good way to throw yourself into a networking situation is to find a friend in a similar position to you and work off each other. This doesn’t mean that you stand next to each other in a corner, but it can be easier to approach new people as a pair.
Remember to introduce yourself clearly with who you are, what you do and where you do it. Then ask plenty of questions, take a business card and make a note as soon as you can about who you have met. These less formal meetings deserve just as much follow up as your formal ones.
4. Be respectful and consider different cultures
StudyWorld will see over 50 different countries and cultures represented.
It is vital to treat all your fellow delegates with respect and especially important to think about how etiquette can vary across cultures.
Did you know that business cards are considered a talisman in many Asian cultures, for example? It is polite to receive and give them with both hands, read them carefully and place them thoughtfully on the table or in a business card-holder.
There are lots of good websites about doing business in different cultures, read them before StudyWorld, not after!
5. “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn.”
It’s unlikely that Benjamin Franklin was speaking specifically about business-to-business events, but his observation is still very relevant.
If this is your first, third, tenth or one-hundredth workshop, you can still learn about yourself, your trade and your industry. Grasp that opportunity for learning and professional development with both hands. Go to all the seminars you can, ask questions of people more experienced than you and listen to feedback from your colleagues or people you meet.
Most of all, push yourself to go outside your comfort zone! Set yourself small, achievable goals for things that make you nervous. Try and speak to five new people at a networking event or get three new business cards during lunch. Write up your learnings when you have finished the event for colleagues back at the office so that you share the development widely.
6. Don’t be afraid to enjoy the experience!
International education is a great industry and lots of great people work in it. You will have the chance to speak to and learn from people from all over the world, all with a positive mission at the heart of what they do.
There will be times when this really doesn’t feel like a regular day at the office. That’s great. You should embrace that feeling and turn it into the kind of energy that helps you to be successful.
If you haven’t booked yet or would like to bring a new colleague to show them the ropes, you can book now or contact Tim to discuss our many attendance options.