Attending a business conference or trade show can be a powerful way to give your business a boost. You can find new service partners, products, and industry colleagues, all in the space of a single day. Sure, you’ll see some cool stuff and maybe come away with a bag full of swag, but attending a business expo can also be overwhelming, leaving you exhausted and with little to show for a day – or several days – worth of away-from-the-business time.
The key to getting the most out of a trade show without letting it get the most out of you is in the planning. Take a look at these 15 tips as you plan to attend your next business expo, and start getting more out of this potentially valuable investment of time and energy.
1. Set goals in advance.
Make a list of the things you want to get out of the show. Use your time to meet your goals.
2. Allow yourself enough time to take it all in.
Don’t rush through, or try to squeeze it in during a lunch hour.
3. Don’t hang out with people you already know.
This is a tough one for introverts. Plan for recharge time later.
4. Be selective about the literature you take.
Otherwise you’re likely to be overwhelmed by it all.
5. Take plenty of business cards.
And collect cards for vendors who might help you meet your goals.
6. Consider how you’ll introduce yourself.
Have a sentence or two handy to open a conversation.
7. Ask powerful questions.
Make a list in advance and have it at the ready.
8. Organize a meet-up.
You may meet like-minded people with similar goals. Coordinate a coffee or lunch.
9. Create a good mix.
Individual vendors, big groups, related seminars, small meet-ups.
10. Don’t try to meet everyone.
Let your connections match your goals.
11. Have a full charge on your phone.
And carry your charger with you.
12. Find out and use the expo hashtag.
Later you can search all the mentions of the expo by its hashtag.
13. Allow time for the “meeting after the meeting.”
Sometimes the best connections are made in the parking lot or over dinner.
14. Once home, make a prioritized list of contacts.
Follow up with a list of action items.
15. Share what you discovered.
Let your business team know what ideas or services you want to incorporate.
What tips would you add? What has worked for you? We’d like to hear from you…