Making connections face-to-face at trade shows is integral to your business and professional development. My belief (having attended many shows) is that doing your homework and really looking at what a show has to offer, before deciding whether it is the show for you, will save you lots of time and money.
Here are some thoughts to help you with your homework. But let’s work on the basis that you have decided that you will definitely attend the show.
1. Get your Timing Right
Do you have the opening and closing times to hand? This is especially important when arranging your travel to and from the show. How far away is the train station, the airport, etc.?
How long do you need to leave to get your flight back? Is it worthwhile arriving a night before, or leaving the following morning?
Don’t forget the amount of time that security procedures at airports can take – you certainly wouldn’t want to miss your flight! Trains can be easier, and knowing their frequency will help you to really use the time at the event.
2. Save Your Shoe Leather
Do not arrive at the show and then look for the floor plan; you need to be in possession of this before you arrive if you are to make the most of your time.
Floor Plans are usually easily accessible on the show website, but if you cannot find it then get in contact with the organiser. What a waste of time and energy it would be to constantly zig zag your way around the show. Save time and develop some structure to your visit.
3. Choose your Education Sessions
Usually there will be any number of sessions to choose from. Decide what you want to see before you go. This could be the deciding factor on which day(s) you attend the show.
Study the title of the session carefully, is the session really going to give you what you are looking for?
A sexy title doesn’t always deliver the content, so be sure to really investigate what the session will provide. Just as importantly, what level is it aimed at? Maybe it is for association buyers or new entrants. It could be embarrassing to find yourself sitting in the wrong session!
4. Get in the Show Zone
Are you really going to be fully immersed and connecting at the show, or are you more concerned about what is going on at the office?
If you are too preoccupied with your office you will not make the most of the opportunities that the event has to offer, and maybe on that basis you shouldn’t visit the show. If you fully engage in the show and all that is has to offer you, then you will really benefit.