#1 – PENS: Don’t assume that they will be at the event, you will need one to write down product codes you love, names of people you want to google when you get home, notes of what was on the menu and writing down your details for others if you happen to loose or run of business cards.
#2 – BUSINESS CARDS: Take five times the amount you think you’ll need, it’s better to have more than less. You may be handing your card to someone and then out pops somebody new asking if they can have one as well as another for their friend who would love you… this happens more times than you’d think. Having great conversation-starting business cards is key at events.
#3 – DENTAL CARE: Most canapes are sprinkled with some kind of herb and most will get stuck in your teeth. First impressions matter so take a few moment during the event to check your teeth. I carry a packet of “Wisps” the disposable toothbrushes (which you can get almost anywhere) for when I duck into the restroom or if I get stuck I have a packet of tictacs on hand.
#4 – LIP COLOUR: You’re talking a lot, you’re eating, people are looking at your face and trying to engage with what you’re saying. Your eyes and mouth will be focus points so really make them pop with a burst of colour to stop you from looking washed out. Tinted lip balms are subtle, not too over the top and will keep your lips from getting dry. Personally I love a lip tint as the colour stays on longer and to jazz it up add a dab of your favourite gloss.
#5 – COMPACT MIRROR: Buy a pretty one because if someone busts you looking at yourself, they’ll be too busy thinking how cool your mirror is to think that you’re vain and more often than not they’ll ask where you got it from and then a potential new friendship is born. Yes, this has happened to me more than once.
#6 – CAMERA: Big/small it doesn’t matter. Try and use a handbag that can hold it all, carrying two bags is annoying and cumbersome in crowds. If you’re worried about it getting damaged in your bag invest in a camera pouch, essentially a padded bag to keep your camera safe from bumps and scratches. The Gary Fong Puffer is a great flash diffuser for DSLR cameras with pop up flash which will stop red eye and help your photos look more professional without needing lots of expensive external flash equipment, great for both day and night time events.
#7 – SMART PHONE: Make sure it’s completely charged prior to leaving and try to avoid using it too much before you get there to prolong the battery life. Pack charger if you think you’ll chew through power but be prepared to sit on the floor and look silly waiting around for a powerpoint. Be charger savvy and invest in portable chargers like Mophie who have usb key rings, phone cases and units that can charge your phone, ipad and laptop all at the same time.
#8 – SNACK: Don’t assume that the food will be good, or that you’ll even manage to get any, I’ve left events starving! Now I carry snacks like tiny teddies or a packet of apple slices from Maccas as they’re small, you can just pop them in your mouth and don’t have to be eaten all at once. Don’t put it tupperware, you want to be able to get rid of any evidence and no one want to carry around a container.
#9 – CASH: $20 is usually enough to cover any incidentals. I once attended an event that said “free drinks” only to find out that all the alcoholic drinks were free but soft drinks, juice and bottled water (no tap water available) were all $5+ each per glass and there were no ATMs. I drove to that event so needless to say I wasn’t impressed but glad I had my emergency cash on hand.
#10 – MERCHANDISE: More often that not you will leave with a swag bag full of branded goodies and media released to take home with you. Don’t think for a second that they’re the only ones who can give away things! You can distribute logo tattoos, stickers, homemade sweet treats, discount vouchers and even buttons to people you think might be interested. Bloggers aren’t the only ones who appreciate free stuff, PR’s love little surprises and always seem to remember you for them… and that’s the whole point of attending these things in the first place right?