Sometimes attending a tradeshow as a spectator is a good way to gain insight, learn about your industry, see what other companies are doing. It is also a great way and gain a better understanding of new technology or ideas that pertain to your line of work, and possibly improve your own exhibits in the future. But when you’re attending a tradeshow, it’s important to go to that show with a few key ideas in mind, or attend a show actively.
Here’s how to get the most out of the next show that you attend.
Why attend a trade show?
What do you want to learn? Who do you want to connect with? What do you hope to get out of a show? Ask yourself these questions, and then proceed to do some research.
Find out who’s going to be at the show and research those companies
There might be some companies that you want to connect with before a show too, and you can do this through social networks. This allows you to plan a better path through the show floor and manage your time wisely. Allowing for more quality interaction between you and the exhibitors you are focused on speaking with.
Learn to network as much as possible
A major reason you should attend trade shows is to network within your industry. Try and figure out what you will say to the people you meet, how you will introduce yourself, and what you will tell people about your company or product. In short, a small elevator pitch will work wonders. If you can prepare a pitch in advance, you’llhave an advantage.
No, really! Listening is a true skill, and it’s one that most people never practice. If you are attending a show actively (as you should be), take the time to really listen to those people that you seek out. Try and focus on what’s being said whether it is a lecture, educational course, or just a chat with someone you want to connect with. Not only will you learn more, but the person talking will understand that you’re really listening, and that will get you a lot of respect.
Realize that some people you come in contact with might know other people.
Maybe you didn’t intend on talking to the person you spent an hour or more talking to, but that person may know someone else – you never know who you are speaking with, so practice those listening and networking skills on everyone you meet.
Gather notes for next time
If you are not setting up trade show booth displays this time around, make sure to take careful notes for the next show that you do attend. Did any exhibit design catch your eye? Did you see something that you really loved or didn’t like? If you can make a list of these things and take some photos while you are there, you can have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t when you attend your next trade show as an exhibitor.
Putting all the information to use
Attending a trade show as a regular patron of the industry can be just as rewarding as attending as an exhibitor. Gleaning insights into how and why your competitors use certain displays, designs, and features can help make your future exhibit structure more productive. This will also confirm what is working well on your current exhibit configuration. Networking with industry colleagues during and after the show can really give you insight into what others enjoyed, as well provide a more robust understanding of what you can do to make the most of your next trade show.
Data is king and the more you gather the better your chances of success during the next event you are exhibiting at. The summation of everything you gathered as an active attendee will propel your future exhibiting success.