As we approach another big tradeshow I tallied up the number of them that I have attended this year along with the ones that are still to go – in a recent Facebook post I had this number down as eleventy billion, but that might be a slight exaggeration. The number is actually 24 attended, three that I have missed but wanted to go to and still another three to go! Please be assured that I don’t have an addiction to wearing a lanyard, so on that basis, here’s some insight into what it is that makes me want to go to all these events and some top tips for attending them.
Networking– I always feel like saying “blah blah” after this word, but it really does work – these events mean you can catch up with clients, prospective clients, press and other influencers. Tradeshows also give you the opportunity to literally bump into people –at a recent show I did this with three people who said, “I have been meaning to get in touch,” and they since have. Bubble top tip: make sure you have lots of business cards with you. Also, if you have met someone before and can’t remember their name, the trick to get them to tell you is by asking for their card or contact details.
Product knowledge– there are these great things at tradeshows called exhibitors… and quite often they have some cool stuff on their stands/booths that have cost them a fortune. The best stands/booths are ones that have someone approachable on them and ones that clearly state on the signage exactly what it is they do. You can also find out what your competition are up to and see who has the best brochures, merchandise and stand/booth builders. Bubble top tip: if you are exhibiting, don’t stand or sit looking at your phone all day but be proactive about seeing who is doing what. If you are visiting a show, grab a coffee and make a list of what and who you want to see.
Industry knowledge– these great tradeshow organisers also put on a lot of content, either in the form of conferences or short sessions; my advice is to go to as many as you can when you aren’t busy doing all the other stuff above. It is often at these sessions that you will hear of new companies that perhaps can’t afford a stand/booth or watch a great debate that you can wade into if you see fit.
Meet the press– in my job this is something I clearly do a lot of but if you are visiting or exhibiting, then it is a great opportunity to meet them either in a formal or informal situation. If you do meet a journalist, don’t forget to follow up afterwards and make them your new best friend by talking about work and then some things from out of work – sports teams, music, addiction to lanyards, etc.
So, there you have it – an overview of why twice a month I put on my smartest, comfortable shoes, prepare myself for some carbohydrate-laden food and head to a tradeshow. See you at one very soon.