GOAFEST 2019, the collective event by AAAi and AdClub. It used to be really fun when it was held at the Cavasillium beach. Oh! It was hot and humid. You needed sunglasses, a hat and suntan lotion as standard accessories to navigate the venue.
I have been one of those stupid’s who questioned the relevance of some of the fun activities including rain-dance, and I regret it.
Certain limitations, cost, security, liabilities and other management issues, moved GOAFEST to a hotel venue. The AC is excellent and sessions mighty comfortable. There is sundowner, after-hours party and enough beer to go around. But, in the process, GOAFEST misses out on both GOA and FEST. The fun element has taken a beating.
It still holds its charm. It provides ample opportunities for ice breaking, networking, training, knowledge sharing, deal closure and even informal business commitments.
GoaFest is quite fun when you are a part of a group.
Its pure fun, when you are part of a group nominated by your organisation to attend GoaFest. However, there is another subset of delegates. Independent individuals. These are start-up guys, entrepreneurs, small agency owners, media representatives and consultants. For them, it is a challenge to be a part of a group for long. And that includes the group from your ex-organisation.
Whatever may be the subset you belong to, GOAFEST becomes chaotic by day 2. It does not matter how big your group is. People by day 3 are bored of being with the same colleagues. The conversations dry up. At this stage, Zombies takes over. You find delegates missing knowledge sessions and relaxing in their rooms. Sometimes it is just late night partying and stressed out socialising / networking that is the culprit. Sometimes the sequencing of the session.
So, what can you do at GoaFest 2019!
Get up early. Take a walk along the beach. Many of you may not be near the beach. It’s okay, catching early morning soft flowing Goa breeze is a fabulous experience.
Spend some time watching the shortlisted entries. Move to the display area early in the morning when the rest of the delegates are still deciding what to do. Now that you are there don’t just glance over them, invest time. Study and understand them. If you find something that stuns you, compliment that agency or people when you meet. Sometimes this is the best way to network. And trust everyone wants more appreciation.
Pick the 2-5 sessions you definitely want to attend. Now use your fingers and check about the author and the subject. Priming dry land before showers always helps. You will find that your interest in the subject and session gets enhanced. Maybe you already have the question you want to ask. Draft it and save it in your SMS. Don’t forget to timely raise it by plugging in the GoaFest 2019 app.
Avoid the sessions you do not want to attend. Don’t get pulled into them for any reason. This time is better utilised at the display area, networking outside, having drinks or just relaxing. There is nothing more tiring than playacting listening with resourcefulness to something you are not interested in.
Remember, networking and introductions happen in less crowded situations. So, create opportunities by being early at the start of the day, post lunch session and awards night. A wee bit earlier than the hall doors open up and you may find it rewarding in term of connects you make. Do work like a homing pigeon. Make the networking worth for the other person too. So be ready with your deeply researched true networking opening conversation.
Find the missing GOA in Goafest 2019. Step out. Go to another beach. Eat at Shacks. Have outside street food with friends. Find that lovely seafood joint or just land up at a casino for the adventure. Do something beyond GoaFest.
Most importantly, switch-off your e-mail and social media notifications. Do continue to post from the fest. People must know you are there. And respect the speaker, organisers and delegates by putting your phone on silent when you are attending any session.
Find out the free Wi-Fi spots and passwords at the hotel. Check the connectivity. And at night update all your apps.
Place three-alarms on your phone. Slot 15-20 minutes for an unhurried clean-up and replies of your inbox. Maybe at 0830, 1330 and 1830 Hrs. Practice upward delegation. Check up how you can stop playing e-mail ping-pong and kill it with a phone call.
Trust me, if there is fire, right people have your number to reach you. Use your mobile camera to capture the moods, selfies and groupies. Select the picture you want to keep, delete all others and post the images ( if you’re going to) then and there. Timing is everything.
May this GoaFest, you get what you deserve from it. May it create new benchmark and reference of what to do in future. And may I meet Miss2016.