In just 3 weeks time my colleague Del and I are taking the short flight to Cannes for the 30th annual MIPIM real estate event. It's my first time attending and i'm really excited to be there among the key players in the property market. However, I am a bit daunted due to the enormity of the event - will I be able to meet everyone I want to and see the speakers which I am keen to hear from? With over 360 keynote speakers, more than 100 conferences, 3,350 companies exhibiting and over 26,000 participants it seems like quite a task!

Last year was the first time anyone from my company Harper Harrison attended and I know, because of good planning prior to the event, we had some really interesting conversations, moved relationships forward and also got to meet some people that we had struggled to get connected with. Those conversations led to a number of business opportunities in the last 12 months.

Pressure's on...

Thankfully, I get to speak to professionals in the sector every day so have been picking their brains about MIPIM to get some feedback/advice on how best to plan my days and maximise our time there. 

As a first-timer, this advice was invaluable so I thought I would share it with you here.

If like me, you are venturing in to the unknown and you risk being slightly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the event, hopefully this advice can help you to focus.

Pace Yourself 

This advice came from several sources. The days are long at MIPIM and the evenings can be longer, so make sure you eat well and don’t get over excited on the first night! One of my contacts told me he was due to meet a developer on the second day and found him asleep in the corner of one of the exhibition rooms. Needless to say he didn't pursue that partnership! 

Be Prepared

Another regular piece of advice I received was to make sure you organise your days before you get there. Engage with people before the event to arrange times to meet, grab quick coffees in-between talks, allow for time to visit the different pavilions and talks rather than wandering in a daze waiting for someone to text you back. 

From previous events I have always found it useful to have a document with the name of company, contact, number, location, if you can group this by area then even better as typically events are listed alphabetically.

Plan... but not too much

Contrary to the above, a number of experienced MIPIM attendees I spoke to advised against booking your diary up completely. Yes, definitely arrive with pre-booked meetings, however, blocking out your diary fully could be a mistake, you may not spot an opportunity to connect with a new customer / partner.  If the person you are due to meet is delayed, (they have bumped in to an old colleague for example), your schedule could fall like dominoes, allow some breathing space and some time to be spontaneous.

Don’t book lunches

Most people I spoke to stated that booking a lunch meeting can take up too much valuable time, so avoid it. Clearly if there is business to be done, then great, but if you can have a quick coffee instead then you, and your connection, have more time to press on.

Write Notes

Business cards, pretty old school in some sectors but still a great way of exchanging details.  Write notes on the back (or in your phone) of what was discussed before you decide to have “one for the road” and wake up trying to remember what the follow up action was... 

Exhibiting doesn’t actually mean exhibiting 

Finally, a bit more of a practical tip, when you view the exhibitor list you will see a number of companies that will have the same stand number (e.g. C15) this is the key for the pavilion that they are attached to rather than actually having a stand, don’t spend time searching for one. If a company has a stand number that looks like R7.G35 then this indicates a fixed location where you will find them.

I hope you found this insight useful and that it adds some value to your experience at the event. I would love to hear your comments and any advice that hasn’t been mentioned.

I am so keen to make the most of my time at MIPIM and am particularly looking forward to catching up with existing Developers & Consultancies that we already work with, as well as meeting plenty that we don’t. We are always looking for the best companies in the sector to partner with and the opportunity to do this whilst learning about industry trends and technology that will drive the sector forwards is invaluable.

Del Connolly and I will be attending the event Tuesday to Thursday, drop me a line if you are interested in catching up over a quick coffee or during the evenings.