With hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees, it can be overwhelming to
attend a robust trade show. With so many seminars, discussions, presentations and exhibits, how can you see everything? Simply put, you can’t. With a bit a of prep beforehand; you can set yourself up to get the most out of your trade show attendance.
create show objectives
Although you are not exhibiting, you and your team should still have trade show goals and objectives. A team meeting before you travel to the show will make sure your team is aligned, and that everyone is working towards the same goal.
Here are some examples of attendee show objectives:
- To visit with potential vendors
- To visit with current or potential customers
- To learn from the seminars or lectures
- To set up meetings with decision makers
outline "must see" booths and companies
Trade shows can be spread across a large area. Often you can access the exhibitor
list and map on the trade show website. Create a list and map out the booths that you must visit. When you go to walk the floor, visit your list first and then you can walk the
rest of the floor leisurely. If a booth is crowded, come back another time for better face time and conversation.
create a schedule
Prepare a schedule ahead of time by using the trade show literature and website to choose what speakers and seminars you want to see. Create a schedule and choose backup plans in case your first choices fill up. If you have a team, you can spread out and report the key details back to the team.
Make sure to come prepared. A notepad and pen are a must, don’t assume they will be provided. If you are sitting up close, you can consider recording or taking photos on your phone. Also, bring a good amount of business cards for networking after the events.
book meetings in advance
Once you create your schedule, you can easily set up key meetings ahead of time. When people start traveling, it is often difficult to get ahold of them to schedule meetings. During the weeks before the trade show, connect with your contacts and set up meetings. A remote trade show is a great place to set up breakfast meetings, dinner meetings or to meet for happy hour. A trade show website will often suggest local places to visit outside of the show.
monitor social for updates
You can’t get away from social media. Most trade shows will have a few social media pages or even an event hashtag that you can follow online. This is an excellent way to see show updates, schedule changes or announcements. Other attendees will be participating so you can see what is going on from all over the show. The show website will have the best way to stay connected!