Strategic meetings, moderated sobriety and ditching your friends are the real tricks to conquering MIPIM, says Nick McKeogh 

As Archiboo returns with an Architect Pitch aimed at those attending MIPIM and as party invites start flooding our inboxes, Nick McKeogh of Pipers rounds up his MIPIM Dos and Don’ts. Nick McKeogh has run the London Stand at the property conference since its earliest beginnings. Over the years he has worked out the following ways for attendees to maximise their MIPIM and come home with a wallet full of new contacts. The trick is to avoid playing it safe and to figure out your plan of attack in advance.

DO: Target 15 people that you want to see at MIPIM
And then make sure that you see at least 10 of them. It is the best place to catch up with existing clients and contacts that you haven’t seen for a while and get the opportunity to put yourself and your business in front people you have been meaning to, but haven’t found the time to make the call in London.

DON’T: Fill your diary up
Giving yourself time for chance encounters on the London Stand together with tours of the exhibition halls and last minute invitations to tag along with someone going to an event or lunch will prove equally useful during your stay.

DO: Partner up
Seek out some like-minded friends in the industry (preferably not work colleagues) that you can work the exhibition halls and events with. Working in pairs makes the task of meeting new people much easier and if you pick the right ones they can make introductions to their network as well.

DON’T: Get stuck in your comfort zone
Falling in to the trap of spending your entire week with a dozen people you know best is far too easy to do amongst the masses at MIPIM and is a waste of the opportunities on offer!

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DO: Wear sensible shoes
If you are working MIPIM to its full potential you will be on your feet for 12-15 hours a day, so don’t put style (or a new pair of shoes!) above comfort. One of the best tips I ever had for MIPIM was from Paul Finch, who advised carrying a fresh pair of socks in your bag each day. A quick change at 6pm will make you feel like a new person and avoids the (normally) long trek  back to your hotel for a freshen up.

DON’T: Stay up too late
The hours after midnight pass much quicker than those before, and rarely prove productive! You can still enjoy yourself, get plenty of sleep and be back in the Palais by 8am to get the most out of your stay. If you do want to make the most of Cannes late at night, wait until Thursday when most of the best parties take place…

DO: Attend the talks programme on the London Stand
The NLA talks on the London Stand that take place every morning and afternoon from Tuesday to Thursday are a great opportunity to get a rapid update on key development areas and trends in the capital. They are also a good opportunity to introduce yourself to speakers after each event with a well timed comment on their performance! Full details will be at londonatmipim.com in the lead up to MIPIM. Most city stands run similar programmes so check those out too in advance.

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The London Stand, MIPIM 2015

DON’T: Leave it until Friday to visit all of the exhibition stands
Make time to tour the exhibition halls, pavilions and City stands and don’t be shy to introduce yourself and find out what they are promoting. There is no better place to find out what is happening all over the world and seek out new opportunities. But don’t leave it until Friday to leave the London Stand as that is what all the other exhibitors do: in fact the best place to be on Friday morning is the London Stand when we have the highest number of international visitors looking to make contact with London companies – and most have them are taking a lie in or heading back home.

DO: Collect as many business cards as possible
Arm yourself with a stack of business cards and make sure that you exchange them with everyone you meet. Very few people will want to be handed a brochure that they then have to carry around for the rest of the day. Make a short note on any that you collect, or you will forget the relevance of your conversation later.

DON’T: Forget to follow up
The most important part of MIPIM is the follow up. Take time when you return to London to write a personal email to all of those that you meet – and suggest a follow up meeting if you think that there is work to be won.

Nick McKeogh is Managing Director of Pipers Projects, and has run the London Stand at MIPIM for 21 years. He is also Chief Executive and Co-founder of New London Architecture, which curate the talks programme on the London Stand.