The five types of people you’ll meet at an exhibition

Alongside scores of well-intentioned distributors, retail buyers, members of the press, and other industry types, exists a rogue’s gallery of weird and wonderful characters inhabiting its stands and keynote sessions. But which ones will you bump into at your next event? Online printers, Solopress, uncover 'The five types of people you’ll meet at an exhibition'.

The Leadership Guru Wannabe

The Leadership Guru Wannabe thinks work/life balance is for wimps, endorses everyone he ever meets on LinkedIn, and just loves a webinar! This big shot is someone who takes every opportunity to turn the spotlight onto themselves; a self-professed thought leader with far-fetched descriptors such as “jedi”, “ninja”, “rock star”, or “wizard” in their job title. They will normally have little interest in what you’ve got going on and are more focused on giving you their elevator pitch for their cool new start-up. This blue-chip bore has read Wired magazine twice and now their sole focus is to disrupt ‘the industry’ as much as possible. Which industry? They didn’t give you much information beyond that.

Will you be attending their workshop? Unlikely.

The Collector

The Collector pinballs from sponsor exhibit to sponsor exhibit amassing as much free swag as physically possible. Also known as the ‘Trick-or-Treater’, this person feigns interest in the brand’s sales pitch or software demo, nodding along eagerly while they stuff their pockets with branded USB sticks and keyrings.

Sure, this person may have come to the exhibition to learn and bring back information to their team, but not until they have grabbed enough branded pens to last them until the end of days. I mean, sometimes all you really need in life is a free wind-up torch. Oh, and a sticker. And a reusable coffee cup.

Do they need another one of those squishy stress ball things? Does the Pope have a balcony?

The LinkedIn Creeper

The LinkedIn Creeper is on a mission to ‘win’ LinkedIn. This person has turned social media gamification into an art form, adding everyone within arm’s reach (including those working on the coffee stand and in the cloakroom), with acceptees treated to a pre-populated LinkedIn message: “Thanks for connecting – I’m just building my network.”

The LinkedIn Creeper has had more jobs than friends, throws out endorsements for fun in the hope of an endorsement in return, and will definitely congratulate you on your ‘work anniversary’. Strangely enough, they update their profile whenever they move desks and has almost certainly checked LinkedIn every Christmas Day since 2009.

LinkedIn? Completed it, mate. And don’t we all know it.

The Barnacle

If you’re extremely unlucky, you’ve been ‘barnacled’ before; and for your sake, I hope you have learned your lesson. The Barnacle is the type of person who is at the event but probably isn’t that comfortable going up to new people and forming lots of connections. Instead, they will scan the room to identify the easiest target (usually anyone that remotely shows any interest in them) and will attach themselves.

Once attached, they’ll be with you for the entirety of the event, piggybacking on all of your conversations. Tell-tale signs of a barnacle are they will usually be whispering out of the corner of their mouth to you that they’ve “never been to one of these things before.”

Mind if I tag along with you? “No Hablo Ingles.”

The Escape Artist

For an Escape Artist, the main purpose of coming to a conference or exhibition is to seek the holy grail: getting out of work without having to use any annual leave. Although they might learn one or two things and network with some interesting people, escaping from the conference centre as early as possible is their primary objective.

You'll most likely come across the Escape Artist nipping in and out of a couple of (morning) talks, scribbling down a few notes during breakout sessions, retweeting some of the tweets from the official conference hashtag, and then leaving early to enjoy the sunshine or nip back to their hotel room for forty winks.

Did you catch the 6pm talk? Erm … which one was that again?