For me, as a teacher who is now trying to make money independently of a school, conference exhibiting is just a logical part of what I do to get the message out. I quite enjoy it and it beats cold calling!
In negotiation with conference organisers in the last few days, I have come to realise that this whole sponsorship of conference thing is a bit of a tightrope walk. The conferees do not want to spend valuable time that could easily be spent listening to great presentations enduring some salesman’s pitch about his or her product. On the other hand, the sponsor does not want to contribute a hefty donation to the conference without knowing that there is some opportunity of exposure to get money back in sales at a future date.
I always offer to speak wearing my “teacher hat” at conferences. I am passionate about the appropriate use of ICT in schools and I believe that this comes out in what I have to say. I am hopeful that the conferees will then come to visit me at a later time at my booth. It is there that we can carry on the conversation and, hopefully, assist each other.
At least that is how I think it should work!