Since April of this year, I’ve already been to four trade shows. That’s right! Show season is among us. The good news is that July will be relatively quiet, but the busy season begins again in mid-August and runs through October.
While trade shows are an important way to connect with others in the industry and make business happen, it can be intimidating if you don’t have a plan. Unfortunately, some trade show attendees don’t know—or don’t follow—proper etiquette when attending shows, and also may not know how to leverage their time to best benefit their companies and careers.
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share six tips from blogger Ansel Oliver on how to optimize your trade-show experience when attending trade show education sessions and networking events.
1. Take pictures, but only during the first few minutes of a presentation. It’s exciting when the anticipated speaker finally begins the long-awaited workshop, and the room may be abuzz. This is the time to raise your device and snap a few images. Sure, you can take pictures of certain slides throughout the workshop, but do so discretely so you do not disturb others or block their view.
2. Audience Q & A is not a time for you to offer a rambling soliloquy. An effective question contains one or two sentences setting the premise and then a sentence with the question. Also, do not end a question with a trailing “or,” such as, “Do you think these trends will continue … or … ?” You’ll sound more confident and polished by eliminating “or” as the final word of a question.
3. Have fun on social media. Post quotes you like, include hashtags about the topic and tag the presenter. You’ll often see the heavy influencers on social media channels during the trade show, and can have a virtual dialog with them that you might not get in person. This will help establish a conversation that can continue well after the trade show is over. You never know where it might lead.
4. Take notes and publish on a blog. You’ll want to remember what you learned. So, take notes and create a series of blog posts to share during and after the trade show, on your company or personal blog. You can write a new post each day summarizing key points from each education session that you attend. Forward the link to your boss and colleagues back home. If you don’t have a blog yet, go to Blogger.com and create one. It’s easy to set up, and don’t forget to include in each post some of the photos you’ve taken. Research shows that adding a visual element always gets more interest.
5. Talk to the speaker after the presentation, but only for a moment. Be aware that other people are waiting to do the same. The speaker wants to meet many people and make connections—not take 10 minutes to explain something to you. Better yet, try talking to the speaker before the presentation. There’s no line, and you might get five minutes of the speaker’s time instead of 30 seconds.
6. Bring business cards. This might sound obvious, but don’t leave home without your business cards. Be sure to exchange cards or share contact information electronically at some point in the conversation with people you meet at the trade show. You never know where those connections might lead.
Source: Ansel Oliver is a manager for special projects at SnappConner PR.