In a virtual world, our largest trade show is now thundering onward, a global collision stream of bits and bytes that brings the entire 3D printing universe to your den or kitchen. But, how do you optimally connect to Formnext Connect? First, sign up on the Formnext site. The company will ask you to use the same credential that you used somewhere in a hazy past to get your Formnext tickets, your “Mesago Messe Frankfurt Messe-Login.” Then you should check your inbox because many companies are letting you get free tickets. If you then enter the discount code, you will have to confirm using a message sent to your email address to log in.
A series of questions will then follow. Formnext uses Grip Events which is a matchmaking software. So, during the initial login questions, pay attention! Grip’s algorithms will match you with people according to these initial choices. So, do think wisely about questions such as what industry you are in and what you are looking for. Do upload a picture and/or connect to Linkedin, otherwise your profile will look empty. Do pay a lot of attention on your exhibitor summary. That is the detail tab that people can see about you. You can include non-clickable links here and explain your value proposition. Many people don’t pay attention to the summary or photo, but it is hugely important in this context. You can also use keywords in this part of your profile to make it more likely that others will find you. If you have not done this previously, this tab is accessible through the profile setting on the top right. You can save content by pressing save on the profile tab, once you’ve typed in the new information. The save button is at the top, to the right of your photograph.
For items such as “Countries Interested,” you could put down just your own country, but it would be smarter to have an exhaustive list of countries where you might be interested in doing business. Similarly, do pick a number of segments or industries—both of those sections seem to augment your ranking. Also, for Industry of Interest, it is more effective to pick more than just one, since it makes you more visible.
Once you complete this, you can see a “recommended for you” tab, which will let you see the recommendations initially in terms of companies and people that they think you should link to. You can seamlessly set up a meeting with people through this tab. This works really well and is a great piece of functionality. I’ve already gotten a few meeting requests where people don’t explain in the invite what it is they want to do or why the want to meet, so please do take the time to do this.
To find more people to meet, you can look at the Search Bar. Here you can search for companies or people that you may be interested in. The bar is often at the top of the page. You can Show Interest or immediately request a meeting. I’ve done this as early as possible because these slots are finite.
The search is great because it lets you filter companies or even individual departments. The MySchedule tab is super handy and lets you look at all of your Scheduled meetings for the day. It is populated by meeting requests that need to be confirmed, but also scheduled meetings from connections that you have or webinars that connected companies are giving. Go through this once a day and Add to Schedule, Skip or Accept to keep the schedule clean and useful. The Main Stage tab is the main presentation that is ongoing in video. So far, it works well. The Q&A is a second tab on the main screen and also works well.
The Event Agenda showcases all of the available events worldwide and can be a bit overwhelming. But, it is super simple to add an event to your schedule. I’m using the schedule area for everything and it’s super useful and easy to do it this way.
I’ve found that the Event Agenda is really the nicest way to browse the whole site and find random things that you may not have considered previously. Whereas it also helps you find the key presentations by your key customers or companies that you’re interested in, it is by selecting new tracks or just browsing that I’ve found things that I’ve not known I was interested in.
There is also the Exhibitors tab, which lets you look through companies. I found this very helpful to find random firms and ones that I’ve missed. You can also use this section as a kind of list of interested businesses that you want to check out as I’ve done.
At the same time, what I did was Show Interest in many profiles and companies that I’d like to meet with in the hope that they would proactively make this happen either in this period and beyond. We will all have to come to grips with the new way of conducting and attending trade shows, but this Formnext app seems like a good place to start.
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