The World Economic Forum annual meeting can seem a little overwhelming at first glance. The Brussels team was on-site in January and nothing can quite prepare you for the festival of people, parties, press, and ideas that Davos presents. Whilst the main meeting is limited to invitees and members of the Forum, for most attendees a hotel badge – which allows access to the venues around the conference centre where fringe events are held – will suffice. Days begin early, with the official annual WEF meeting lasting a mere three days, expect invitations for breakfast events beginning around 7am and multiple evening events, with parties sometimes running well into the early hours.
Peace and quiet are at a premium so don’t be phased if a camera sets up shop next to you at the bar; although all accredited media will have access to the conference centre itself, they are also more than happy to catch attendees wherever and whenever they can squeeze you in.
FTI Consulting has been an Industry Partner of the World Economic Forum for seven years now, organising multiple events every year and supporting clients on media and stakeholder engagement around the annual meeting as well as WEF’s regional activities in Africa and Latin America. One month on from our major client event at the 2017 WEF, thoughts back in Brussels are already turning to plans for next year. Read on below for the team’s Don’ts to ensure any future trip to Davos is as successful as possible:
- Wait until the autumn to decide whether to attend (unless you are the President or Prime Minister of a country or Matt Damon J)
- Have unrealistic demands or ambitions for your first WEF. The annual meeting in Davos is a humbling experience as you soon realise that many people around you are world famous in their own field – from Hollywood stars to genuine world leaders – so do not expect to be a headline speaker or media player.
- Waste the media’s time. At Davos it is just as precious as yours. Some of the world’s most important business news journalists are present, approach them if you have something to say and be prepared to talk on the “hot topics” of the day.
- Many leading journalists are ‘stars’ in their own right at Davos (think CNN’s Richard Quest…) Be prepared to be available for the very early morning or late night slots and do not be surprised if you get bumped off the show last minute because they found someone more important than you.
- Underestimate the weather, the distances and/or the security. Always add a buffer to your travel time to Davos and your trips around the village. Don’t be late for that one key meeting because all suddenly shuts down for the Chinese President’s arrival.
- Just focus on the core days of the WEF meeting. Build up to it and use the momentum to continue discussion in the days following Davos, both on social media and in the press – monitor the trends and keep in touch.
Ultimately though, don’t let any of this dissuade you from attending. The World Economic Forum can represent an incredible opportunity for any organisation or business, not only to network but also to position themselves and their executives as active and engaged thought leaders in the international community. The investment in preparation can be substantial, but the right advice and support can ensure that you get the most out of your trip, and continue to reap the rewards long after the snow has melted on the Swiss ski slopes. If you need advice on your 2018 WEF planning, contact the FTI team now and we will be happy to help.
Read about the dos to make Davos a success in our previous post.
More on FTI Consulting’s Partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF) here.
Contact the Brussels team who supported the Hydrogen Council launch in January 2017: Ivana Jemelkova, Senior Director and John Clancy, Senior Advisor, Ivan Pozgaj, Consultant and Harriet Barnham, Consultant at FTI Consulting in Brussels.