Practical Tips For Attending A Trade Show

Attending a trade show soon?  As an attendee, walking the row after row of a convention hall filled with exhibitors who are all vying for your attention can seem daunting, not to mention exhausting.  With a little planning ahead of time, it should make attending a show a much more valuable use of your time and money – and not such a bad experience.

Exhibition Industry Research Provides 10 Tips For Attendees On How To Make Attending A Trade Show Worth Your While –

  1. Have a goal of what you want to accomplish well before you head out to the show.
  2. Make a list of “must see” vendors and “want to see vendors”, then prioritize from there.
  3. Do some research on these vendors so you’ll have a clear idea of what you want to learn or discuss with them.  This way you’ll have useful questions to ask and keep small talk to a minimum.
  4. Mark the exhibit hall locations for the vendors you wish to see on the show map to keep you on track.
  5. Take notes.  The notes will help you when the exhibitors follow up with you post-show or if you have to prepare a trip report for your company.
  6. Consider snapping a photo of the exhibitor’s booth so you have a visual reminder of who you visited.
  7. If co-workers are attending the show with you, divide the sho up into sections.  This will help you accomplish more in less time.
  8. Avoid taking every brochure offered to you.  Collect the information that is of interest to you or that would be for others in your company.  Most vendors will gladly mail literature or samples so you don’t have to drag them back with you.
  9. Wear comfortable shoes!  The show floor is unforgiving and you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
  10. Don’t forget your business cards.

After the show, identify if your objectives were met and evaluate if you had not attended the show, what would have been the cost and time to meet those objectives otherwise.

On a final note, don’t feel bad about passing by booths that don’t interest you.  Exhibitors are of course there to make connections and find new business, but they are well aware of the fact that aren’t going to be a fit for each attendee at the show.  So it’s okay to walk on by.  They get it.  If you just want to grab one of their kitschy promotional items to take home that’s okay too.  Hey, who doesn’t like free stuff?