Planning on attending or exhibiting at a trade show in the near future? Are you finding yourself unsure of the proper booth etiquette or needing a refresher on the best practices to follow at one?
We’ve got just the solution for you. Check out our list of 50 nifty tips and tricks that are sure to help you have a successful trade show experience.
Below, we’ve given you a preview of 10 tips that will have you off on a strong start. The rest of the tips are available for download at the end of this blog post.
#1: Know the trade show
This may seem obvious, but be sure to do your research on whatever trade show you’re attending beforehand. Find out what the event’s general schedule is like so you can plan your personal agenda accordingly. And although your own booth number has likely been determined far in advance, it’s good to know the map of where other booths are located and the general direction traffic will flow throughout the show.
#2: Get out and explore
When you’re in a different city for the trade show, use some of your free time to go on adventures around the city. Seeing new sites and getting some fresh air while going out and about is a great way to stay invigorated.
Take up the opportunity to explore different cultures: check out the diverse communities within the city, go to a museum or take in a ballet show if time allows, and dine at restaurants that
#3: Avoid headaches
Speaking of drinking, alcohol is always a tricky factor when it comes to business-social situations. You don’t want to make a fool of yourself in front of potential clients, important bosses, and coworkers.
Be aware of what kinds of drinks are appropriate under which circumstances, and limit yourself to one drink (no matter how high of a tolerance you think you have). If you’re not sure whether you should be drinking at the gathering or not, be wise and stick with a non-alcoholic beverage. And again, don’t forget to down lots of water!
#4: Dress to impress
When you are representing your company at a trade show, it’s best that you dress professionally so as to make good impressions on those you interact with. Some companies have required dress codes for employees who travel to trade shows, and others simply let you dress how you think is best.
At the very least, you should dress in business casual attire, but business professional clothing is highly respectable and more tasteful. Some trade shows have formal events, so don’t forget to pack that tuxedo or gown along.
#5: Have fresh materials
Utilize marketing materials that are sophisticated, catchy, and up-to-date. You don’t want to have people tossing your handouts because they are too dull to read, so aim for informational materials that people will want to hold on to and show others.
#6: The do’s and don’ts of PowerPoint
Chances are that if you’re going to be giving a presentation at a trade show event, you’re probably a pretty good public speaker. Yet there are a few general tips that everyone can benefit from when it comes to the actual presentation itself – no matter how many times you’ve heard them.
It’s best to keep your slides simple: easy-to-read color combinations, little text, and minimal animations. Keep your audience members in mind. Don’t just stand there and read slide after slide to them.
#7: Deliver on your promises
You talk to a lot of people at trade shows. Networking happens easily, and you often end up promising to send your new connections a certain file or the contact information about a colleague.
Rather than letting your “must-send” list snowball out of control (and risk losing those new contacts), stay on top of your game by making a list of your to-do’s throughout the day and then sending out those promised correspondences later that night.
#8: Employees using social media
If you’re representing your employer at a trade show while also using social media, make sure to present yourself in the best light.
Unless you have privacy settings on your profiles set up correctly, remember that everything you’ve posted in the past is public. We’re talking Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram photos, etc. This means if you use your social accounts strictly on a personal level, you shouldn’t suddenly use them professionally at a trade show.
#9: Introverted? No problem!
Perhaps you’re not confident walking up to strangers and being assertive. If you’re more on the shy side, as many people are, that’s okay! There are ways that you can still be an expert networker.
Try playing up your strengths. If you’re a great listener (which most introverts tend to be), use that to your benefit and ask your new connection a riveting question. If addressing large crowds isn’t your thing, have one-on-one conversations.
Don’t be afraid to push yourself past your comfort zone; you’ll be surprised at how rewarding it can be when building your professional network.
#10: Make goals for next year
Goals, goals, goals. They are so imperative to have! Get a head start on next year’s trade show by taking the time to list some goals out. Aim for even stronger goals than this year’s, and push your colleagues to do the same.
This will give you and the rest of your company something to look forward to and work toward consistently throughout the year.