Your time is important, and chances are that you wish you had more of it, right? So, it makes really good sense to get the most out of the shows that you are attending – even if you aren’t setting up a portable booth or any other kind of booth. Instead of walking around a show feeling lost or confused, take these tips into consideration.
- Get as much information about a show as you can in advance. Most tradeshow organizers will be happy to provide you with these details in the form of a pamphlet or other paperwork prior to the event. Take a look at this information, figure out what booths you want to see and who you want to meet, and sign up for those discussions that interest you – or just make sure to arrive on time to hear the lectures that will help you with your business goals.
- Act like a journalist. Before a journalist interviews anyone, the do a bit of background work. You may not be conducting a formal interview, but networking is often a lot like interviewing someone. You should have some basic details about that person, the company they represent, and other information prior to meeting anyone.
- Formulate some questions. There are some things that you want to know about a specific company or find out from a speaker, right? Write these things down before you arrive at the show, so that you can ask the right questions when you do arrive. There’s nothing worse than the feeling that you should have asked a different question post-show, and at that point it’s often too late. Or worse, you’ll have you scramble to contact them after the fact.
- See if it’s possible to speak to a presenter that you want to connect with before or after the actual presentation. Sometimes, a one-on-one meeting is the best way to go if you are trying to gather some information that may not be offered during a presentation, and these solo meetings are often the best way to meet and network with an influential person.
- Determine who you need to meet with. A conference may have drawn really big names, but those people might not be the ones that you need to network with. Once you have show materials and agendas in hand, you can determine who you would like to speak more with, who you should try and meet with personally, and who you should listen to, but might not get much benefit out of meeting with on a one-to-one level.
- Keep your social network connections in mind. It can be really intimidating to meet with someone you only know online in person. But, if you have connected with someone through a site like LinkedIn, and that person will be attending the same conference, make sure that you make the real-world connection. Often, meeting someone in person can really make a difference – especially if that person has business to offer, or might be selling something that you want to know more about.
- If the show offers a common area of some kind (lunch, anyone?), think about asking someone to join you for lunch or coffee, or step outside of the event area to speak with that person in a different setting. You’d be surprised at how far a free lunch will get you!
Setting Up a Portable Booth
Even if you are setting up a portable booth at a show and not just walking around, you can still use these tips to work with the people that come to your trade show exhibit area. Have that list of questions ready, and ask your team members to run your trade show exhibit while someone you need to connect with is speaking (or when you want to meet with someone in a more intimate setting). If you are looking at attending a show at the last minute, a portable booth is probably your best bet.
The Blazer team can customize a portable booth for you, so that all you have to do is set up the space. But, keep in mind the aforementioned tips – you can never be too prepared for a show, and that means having everything ready to go before you even get to the show. Tradeshow prep is more than half of the event battle! Contact us for information about portable booths or for bigger options, and feel free to leave us a note on this blog or on Facebook – we’ll get back to you shortly!