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Exhibiting Details

Mass Innovation Nights are different from other events you have been to.  If you are exhibiting at an upcoming event, or considering exhibiting at an upcoming event, please read this post carefully.
Our goals:

    Make some noise for local companies (large and small, new and old)
    Launch new products into the social media circle
    Help make local companies successful so they grow and can hire more of us
    Provide cross-industry inspiration for entrepreneurs and innovators
    Provide a supportive venue for job hunting, idea shopping and general networking

What the event is like:

 This is bare bones.  The tables are bare, no drapes, no skirts.  Sometimes you’ll share a table.  Any signs are printed at home and there is no full-time staff (unless you count the fact that we all have other full-time jobs to pay the rent.) This is a free event.  Set your expectations appropriately.   Sometimes someone donates water and soda.  There is no food.
We don’t always run on time.  We change things at the last minute.  We’re always trying to make it better but sometimes our experiments don’t work.
We try to make sure everyone has a good time and that the event accomplishes our goals.  Otherwise, all bets are off.

The process:

Submit your product online — look for the tab at the top of the page.
Once you submit, you’ll receive a confirmation and enter the queue.  Watch for a notification/confirmation email with the date of your event. If you want a particular month, put that in the submission form.  We’ll try to accommodate your needs but often there is a long line.  (MUST have a particular month?  Talk to us about sponsorship.)  Once you receive the confirmation note, please confirm (reply) ASAPand mark your calendar.  You MUST confirm via email or we’ll turn to the waiting list.
Just after the previous event, we publish the list of the next companies.  Please check your listing and link.
Start promoting the event — blog, tweet, LinkedIn, Facebook, e-newsletter.  The more votes (and RSVPs) you drive, the better for everyone.  We use a hashtag #min (and a number) to help identify the event.
The top 4 vote-getters get 5 minute presentation slots at the event.  Voting closes the day before the event at noon.  You will receive an email if you “win.”  But please don’t wait until the last minute to practice your presentation.  You have one chance to make a good impression.  If you need help, get it (or talk to us -- we run a marketing firm and we're good at this stuff.)
Set-up starts at 4:00 pm the day of the event.  Table selection is determined by who walks in the door first.  Guests start to arrive at 6:00.

The event agenda:

 4:00 – 6:00 pm — set-up for Innovators and Experts
 6:00 pm — doors open and guests start to arrive, get badges and start networking.  They will visit the tables for demos.
 6:00 pm — Experts Corner open for business.  (4-5 industry experts sit at tables and offer advice to guests)
 7:00 pm — Welcome, short introductions from experts, 5 minute presentations from the 4 winning companies
 7:00 pm — table top demos still open (some people not interested in the presentations will use this slower period to talk with the innovators)
 7:30 – 8:30 — more table-top demos, networking, interaction with experts
 8:30 — clean up
 After-party!  Drinks and food somewhere nearby. Everyone pays their own way.

Things you can do to be more successful at your event:

Promote on the event, your company's participation and the participation of the other exhibitors too.  Bring out your supporters. Help kick up the excitement.  Get your supporters to vote.   Trash talking and bribery are allowed, nay, encouraged.
Bring everything you need with you: tablecloth, extension cords, flyers, cards, displays, etc.
Think about how you can quickly communicate the benefits of your product.  What can you do to catch someone’s eye?
This is a Twitter-heavy crowd.  Make sure you have a Twitter account and connect with other MIN bound people before the event.  Follow @massinno and interact with us on Twitter.  Display your Twitter ID at the event so people know who to talk about on Twitter.
Special offers for MIN participants rule!  Contests are great! Giveaways!  What can you do to kick-up the excitement?
Bring your product press release with you.  Product collateral.  Maybe a bowl of mints or chocolate.
If you are picked to present leave the boring PowerPoint and detailed demos at home.  This is a general audience that might not have experience in your specialized field.  This is not the time to recount the 25 special features of interest to deep experts.  This is the time to tell the funny story about how you came up with the idea and why your product is going to be huge!  Tell us who the perfect customer is — there might not be one in the audience but someone in the audience might know one.  Practice.  Practice in front of an audience.  Don’t let MIN be the first time you ever give your presentation.  Take feedback from your practice audience.
Have fun and smile!  MIN is heavily oriented to networking and making connections.  No one likes a grump.  Don’t be one.