Trade Show Tips
Trade shows provide wonderful opportunities for education, professional certification, and relationship building. Problem is, once you're at the show, there never seems to be enough time to accomplish all your goals. Here are some tips from Taylor's booth staff to help make your next experience more productive:
- Plan ahead: Look over show previews and event schedules either in trade magazines or on the web, then highlight the booths, educational/training seminars, and certification exams you want to attend. Bring the marked-up floor map with you. This approach will help keep you focused on what's truly beneficial to you.
- Food for thought: If you need to talk to an exhibitor or presenter but can't make enough time during show hours, ask them well in advance of the show for a breakfast or dinner meeting (lunch time is usually nonexistent if you're working a show).
- Arrive early, leave late: This is true at the registration table and in the exhibition hall. And be a "contrarian": Once inside, head to destinations farthest from the main entry first and make your way back up front. By arriving before the crowds and leaving after they're gone, you'll be able to move about more efficiently and make better use of your time. You'll also stand a good chance of catching exhibitors when they're less busy, meaning you'll have their undivided attention.
- Capture it: Record notes immediately following any important conversation you have. Wait until you're back in the hotel at day's end and you run the risk of forgetting details or missing connections between products you've seen and your needs.
- Travel light: Don't get stuck lugging around a bag full of product literature. Instead, give exhibitors your business card (bring tons!) and ask them to send you information after the show is over. Get theirs in case you need to follow up with a phone request.
- Get carded: It's easy to forget during a show's hustle and bustle, but always ask important contacts for a business card. The back of the card is a good place for your notes. And organize the cards once you're back at your office!
- Chit-chat NOT: Don't get caught up in non-productive conversations with inexperienced booth staff; have your questions ready and move on with a polite close when you get the answers.
- Look important: Wear comfortable shoes and clothes (a jacket with pockets is smart), but do not forsake a professional image…you'll get preferential treatment if you look important.