Kat’s Pro Tips: How To Navigate Trade Shows

Trade shows can be fun, informative and a great way to network but also overwhelming.

Here are some of Kat’s Pro Tips for making the most of your trade show experience:

Be strategic – Exhibitors and organizers will be sending you information about the show well before you arrive, take advantage of this and look through who is exhibiting and decide who you want to talk to.

Know Your Show Info – Reduce stress by knowing the details of the show. You will be one of the thousands of people attending the show so make sure you have worked out where the parking is before arriving, make sure you know the opening times and if there are any special events you want to attend. Most shows offer pre-registration which will save time the day-of, but check where to collect your badge from and if you need ID or proof of employment to collect your badge.

Go with a plan in place – Although trade shows are a fantastic way to gain inspiration about how to expand your business or add extra services, they can also be distracting. Make the exhibitors you want to see your priority. Try and make appointments with them if possible as this will guarantee you complete your “To Do” list of exhibitors.

Explore all your options – If you are planning to meet a company to discuss booking software, for example, see who else is exhibiting that offers something similar. It’s not often you will be able to compare products in one place and be able to walk between reps to ask questions. It’s best to get all the info while you can! You may find the company you were planning to use has a competitor that offers much more.

Bring your business cards – Some shows offer the ability to scan your entrance badge but not all, rather than spend time completing forms with your info have a stack of business cards to hand out.

Take notes – By the time you get home and unpack your bag of samples, brochures and business cards you will struggle to remember who was who, take a pen and jot down notes on the business cards or brochures of the people you want to follow up with.

Remember the walking – You will be amazed how far you walk during a trade show, even with stopping to talk to people you will probably be on your feet for a good 7 hours. Wear comfortable shoes and think about what you really need to bring with you, if you bring that bag that has everything but the kitchen sink in it and weighs 15lbs you’ll be carrying it all day. Some shows offer the ability to check bags and coats but not all.  

We will be applying a few of these tips next month when we head to Orlando, Florida for Surf Expo. If you’ll be attending make sure to swing by our booth #209 in the Wake Area as we’ll be demoing our core products Event Book Manager and AWaiver.