Feb 23rd 2015

MWC – Take Your Partners

It’s now just a few short days before the mobile industry’s big hoedown in Barcelona. This time next week, as the GSMA applies rosin to the bow and fiddles its tune, the Fira Gran Via will open its doors for Mobile World Congress 2015. The assembled great and good (and some not so good) of the sector will take their partners for the annual square dance and at the end of it there will be bodies littered across the cavernous halls of the Fira.

Anyone who has attended MWC previously will know just how tough the event is, and for a whole host of reasons. It really doesn’t matter what aspect you are involved in, you are going to feel battered by the end of it. For some that battering will be related to the amount of money they’ve had to put in the GSMA’s pockets and for others it’s because they’ve just spent weeks or months preparing and are reaching the limit of their capacity. For a lucky few it’s because they’ve been run off their feet trying to attend all the journalist, analyst and new business meetings they have arranged and for yet another category it’s because they failed to prepare and spent all four days chasing people who didn’t have time to meet them.

Of course Babel PR will there again, just as we are every year (this time with around 15 clients), and like everyone else we are going to be exhausted by close of business on the 5th March. That exhaustion is pretty much inevitable but as long as you’re in one piece, and feel you’ve achieved something positive, you’ll come back for more in 2016. Here are Babel’s top tips to survive and thrive at MWC:

  1. It’s already been said (and too late now if you haven’t) but try to organise your most important meetings before the event – anybody who is worth meeting is likely to be booked solid already.
  2. Make every meeting count – this may be the only chance you get with some people so rehearse what you’re going to say and think about the audience, whether that’s a journalist, analyst, prospect, partner or client.
  3. Try to make time to have a good look around the Fira – it’s surprisingly easy to get buttonholed in a single hall and you might miss out on something important.
  4. Wear comfortable clothes, particularly shoes – you’ll be on your feet all day and hall one to hall eight is a good 15 minutes’ walk, even on a good day.
  5. Keep a smile on your face – easy to do on day one and increasingly difficult after day two but it makes a big difference to your engagements.
  6. Use the public transport system – it works well for most locations, is cellular equipped (by a Babel client) and it will save you waiting in long taxi queues.
  7. Outside the Fira, remove that badge – like any city, Barcelona has its unsavoury types and they know that MWC attendees are likely to be packing the latest tech. Try to avoid being obvious.
  8. Attend the parties and other events – you’ll likely have some fun doing so and it’s surprising how much business gets done in that environment, but….
  9. Hold back at the parties – first thing in the morning at the Fira is no place for a hangover.
  10. If you can spare the time, try to get out and about in Barcelona – it’s a beautiful city and you’ll get a nice break and a pleasant memory.

Ian Hood
Ian Hood CEO