8 Great Tips for Trade Show Attendees

Attending a trade show doesn’t automatically mean you’ll need to be an exhibitor. It may be that it’s a new show, and you or your company want to check it out to see if it’s worthy of your participation.

brandme_trade_showOr, it may be a show outside your normal area, but you have clients in this industry and this is a good place to catch up with them and find out why they’re at this show. Here are a few tips to make your trip a success.

  1. You might want to schedule a “fly by,” where you fly into town in the morning, do the show, and fly out at the end of the day. Obviously, since you’re only going to be on the ground for a day, you’ll need to schedule ahead and spend your time wisely.
  2. Try to schedule as much of the day in advance, by making appointments ahead of time, or getting a diagram of the floor and a schedule of activities so you know what you’ll be doing. Familiarize yourself with the exhibitors and their locations.
  3. If there’s a plenary session at the beginning of the show, by all means attend. This is where you’ll hear what’s happening in the industry, and the president of the trade association usually has opening remarks that will give you an idea of the successes and the challenges from the industry’s perspective.
  4. Try to attend as many networking functions as you can. Often, you’ll meet people who have a tangential interest in what you’re doing, and who you would never otherwise meet.
  5. Leave some free time to wander the show. What’s the vibe? Is it upbeat and prosperous looking? Are there booth spaces empty at the end of the aisles? How does it compare with other trade shows you’ve been to?
  6. If you or your company were to exhibit here, where are the advantages? Do you have a special skill that you can lend to the trade association or other governing body?
  7. If you’re booked during the day, and the networking functions are after five, you might want to consider a sleepover. If all it adds is the price of a room and meals, it might be worth the expenditure. Or, it might be that you have to stay over to get a better rate with the airline, so check it out.
  8. Finally, business cards. Take three times as many as you need and make it a goal to give them all out before you go home.

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