Friday, April 19, 2013

Countdown to INTA AM in the big D

Now that I’ve done some research for INTA AM in Dallas, Texas May 5 - 8, 2013 … 


… I am seriously regretting my travel arrangements

For the past few years I have tried very hard to use public transportation to and from the airports, it’s my little environmental bit. I was pleasantly surprised by the ease and speed of this in San Francisco, Boston and D.C. However, it appears that getting to and from Dallas Fort Worth Airport by transit would be an hour and a half ordeal. I probably should have chosen to fly to the smaller “in city” airport.

Also, my hotel is the furthest from the Convention Centre. However, some of the receptions I will be going to are closer to my hotel than the convention centre hotels so that’s a big bonus.

… I’ve discovered that it’s the BIG D

It’s not very original but they call Dallas the Big D. Apparently it’s because “big things happen here”. More interesting is the fact that all over Dallas there are life size letters “B” and “G”. You are supposed to stand in between them, becoming the “I” and have your picture taken. Then you can share your photo on the social networks facebook, tweet, instagram, tumblr, pinterest with the hashtag #DallasBIG. Apparently, lots of Dallas retailers are giving deals, specials and discounts to people who share their BIG photos.


… This sounds interesting for Saturday afternoon

If I was in the Big D on Saturday afternoon, I would definitely be up for this Cinco de Mayo MADNESS Tour of some of Dallas' most famous margarita meccas

Alas, I won’t be able to do this but I sure am looking forward to some real tex-mex food.

… Urban Cowboys

The INTA AM Finale is at Gilley’s the bar where John Travolta worked and learned about life and love in the movie Urban Cowboy. The bar is named for that great country singer Mickey Gilley and is the home of Urban Cowboy memorabilia, great Texan food, cold beer, country music and maybe even mechanical bull rides.

Yee haw! Looking forward to seeing you in your Stetsons and spurs. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

10,000 black and blue suits, with nametags, in your city’s downtown? Must be INTA AM.

10,000 black and blue suits, with nametags, in your city’s downtown?
Must be INTA AM.

As I work out my schedule for INTA AM in Dallas, Texas May 5 - 8, 2013, I offer some tips on getting the most out of the annual meeting.

"Just put yourself about."

When I went to my first INTA AM my boss told me to “put yourself about”. Meaning hang around the conference and dole out and collect business cards; as long as I came back with a pile of cards he was happy.

I soon realized that most people were actually scheduling meetings; some even seemed to have schedules with meetings every half hour. So I started scheduling meetings with people had I met in previous years.

It wasn’t until about my fifth AM that it occurred to me that meeting with people I was already working with would be a good idea. My boss was not impressed with this idea. His attitude: Why would I want to waste time on someone who was already giving us work? OMG seriously!?! But I went ahead because of a problem I was having on a file with a German associate. I thought if I took her out for dinner we might be able to solve the problem. We had such a nice time that we schedule a meal together every year now. And, yes, we did solve the problem.

The Devil (and the party) is in the Details

So, my INTA AM schedule starts with breakfasts and lunches with clients. Then I fill in any meal gaps with INTA friends. Other activities I might do with INTA friends is reception hop, shopping, or late afternoon drinks. There is also usually a Saturday night dinner with a big group and a Tuesday night dinner.

I do schedule some of those “every half hour meetings”. They are a pain -- you have to find the right person in a sea of name tags and they are often no shows -- but you never know when one of those will turn into something interesting. Another plus is the other people you meet who are also waiting.  Last year I found out that there is a soccer tournament at INTA AM. Apparently, it is mostly the young southern America hemisphere attendees’ thing. Ooh la la!

The trick to these meetings is to find a unique meeting spot; easier said than done if you don’t know the first thing about where you are but I must say that the advent of smart phones has made this a lot easier. The message “I’m standing beside the big purple flower” is actually quite helpful!

The last thing I do is schedule receptions. In order to attend a variety of receptions a lot of foresight and planning is required; and a map. First you need to sort the receptions by date and time. Then you need to figure out where they are and how best to plot a course through the city that gets you to the receptions with the least amount of running around.

Be Flexible

Finally, you have got to be flexible. Meetings are going to start late or run late. Opportunities to do something wonderful are going to arise. Don’t be so tied to your schedule that you miss out on a great event. Also keep your eye on Twitter, you’ll find out where all the action is!

At you can get the Annual Meeting mobile app. The app will be available on April 15th and you can use it to create your schedule of personal appointments and receptions.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

#1 Networking tip: Be interested in other people


10,000 black and blue suits, with nametags, in your city’s downtown? 

Must be INTA AM.  


10,000 black and blue suits, with nametags, in your city’s downtown? 

Must be INTA AM. 


My client Jim Gilbert at Wheels and Deals Canada's Huggable Used Car Dealer posted this today.
I think it goes along with my networking post from yesterday.

#1 Networking tip:  Be interested in other people

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Registered Attendee INTA Annual Meeting 2013, Dallas

10,000 black and blue suits, with nametags, in your city’s downtown?

Must be INTA AM.

As I work out my schedule for INTA AM in Dallas, Texas May 5 - 8, 2013, I offer some tips on getting the most out the annual meeting.

At you can grab these for your emails, blogs, etc.

Breaking the ice

The INTA AM is all about networking. You will be talking to people 24/7. Sure you can wax on eloquently about all things trade-mark law. But it’s “what else you got” that makes you special enough that you will stick in someone’s brain. So, you are going to need things to talk about other than trade-mark law.

I’m a lawyer I’m used to talking .. what’s the big deal?

You don’t have to do all the talking. I know, I know you’re a lawyer you’re used to talking. But, just remember it’s a conversation not a pleading. Ask questions. And listen to the answers as that will help keep a conversation going.

You could talk about yourself or …

My favourite go to conversation pieces

My favourite go to conversation piece is the city itself. So, if you can, arrive early and do some touring. Ideally, don’t just do an INTA tour. Branch out on your own. You’ll be amazed at how few people do this and yet they are genuinely interested to know what there is to do. And will find it fascinating that you’ve actually done something.

My second favourite conversation piece is the keynote speaker. When I first started going to INTA AM, I would go to the keynote – I didn’t have anything else to do on a Sunday afternoon (sigh). Now it’s on Monday morning and I can’t fit it in.

If nothing else, there might be eye candy!

There have been some amazing speakers (there probably still are!). I’ll never forget the lady from San Diego Zoo and all her critters. The point is, I’m not the only one who doesn’t go. So, if you can, go, listen and find something interesting in it to talk about. For example, when Elle MacPherson was the keynote, all we ladies could talk about was who our eye candy speaker would be. (Really hoping this will be the year – please PTB at INTA can you get Mr. Jones to bring some Dallas Cowboys with him?)

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away …

The hardest part of networking, for me, is moving on. I find it difficult to extricate myself from a conversation and just walk away without a real reason. Frankly, I’m not very good at this but here are a few exit strategies I’ve developed:

- see someone you just “must talk to”
- refresh your drink
- get some food
- need to use the restroom (really quite desperate and not recommended)
- have a meeting