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How to Survive an Outdoor Networking Event or Fair

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One of the best things about living in the Bay Area in the summer is just how mild the weather is here. Because we’re right on the water, the temperature stays cool. It’s no wonder, then, that so many summer networking events take place outside.

Networking outside, particularly if you’ve coughed up the dough to have a booth at one of these events, presents a unique set of circumstances that must be dealt with (and dealt with professionally) in order to keep your day running smoothly. Here is how to deal with some of those circumstances.

The Sun

The Sun is not everyone’s friend. Everybody knows this. Sure you can apply sunscreen, but you’ll have a much easier time of it if you find a way to give yourself some sort of shelter from the sun. Thankfully Bay Area tent rentals, especially for events like this, are affordable. Putting up a tent gives you a way to get out of the sun without having to duck into a hot building. If you set your “booth” up correctly, you can offer that same shelter to other people at the fair (which will help them remember you).

The Heat

Portable fans can go a long way to helping keep yourself cool on a hot day that must be spent outdoors. At the same time, it can be a huge distraction and might even keep people from approaching you. If you have the budget for it, rigging up some light misters can keep your area nice and cool without doing damage to the spaces around you. Just make sure you keep anything paper based out of their way.

It’s also worth noting that what you wear can play a major role in how well you handle the heat. Linen clothing is lightweight and is nice enough for you to be able to present yourself professionally at an outdoor business fair. Bring a light jacket or blazer to help stay warm if the breeze off the bay kicks up and cools you off too much.

The Wind

It’s one of the hazards of holding an outdoor event so close to a big body of water: the wind is powerful here. San Francisco is not a light breeze town. It’s a windy town or a still town. This is a huge challenge for professionals who might have fliers or other lightweight materials that they want to hand out to people who stop by the booth. The best trick is to double down on your marketing efforts. Attach magnets or buttons to the fliers—things that aren’t heavy, but are heavy enough to help weigh down paper or card stock. You can also keep your fliers and other materials in clear boxes or compartments. This way people can see them well but you don’t have to worry about them all flying away when the wind kicks up.

What are some of the things you’ve come up with to smooth out an outdoor networking event?

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