Before the show
Work out what your main goals are for visiting the show. If you are being sent by your company then make sure you know what your management want to achieve by you attending the show.
Prepare a plan of the exhibitors you want to meet while at the show. We recommend listing them as ‘must see’ and ‘want to see’.
Try to budget your time, by working out how long you are going to be at the show and then splitting your time for each company, but always add on extra time for spontaneous networking and waiting for key people to become available.
Are you the only person going? If not then make sure you co-ordinate with your colleagues so that you cover as much ground as possible in the time you have at the show.
Almost everyone will be busy at an exhibition so know what information you want to get from each exhibitor. We always find it helps to have some questions noted down to get the conversation started.
Always try and make appointments with the key exhibitors you ‘must see’.
If the floorplan is available before show then create the route and highlight your ‘must see’ and ‘want to see companies’. If you can only get the floorplan once you get onsite, then find a seat and spend your first 10 minutes creating your route.
If you have business cards then don’t forget to take them with you. If you don’t have business cards then create some on your computer and print them off with your name, company / institution, email address and phone number. This will help you save time filling out forms.
Most of the time at an exhibition you will be on your feet talking or walking so remember to wear comfortable shoes.
A bag can really save the day. We recommend a back pack to put all the brochures and business cards in and any other freebie you might pick up as it leaves both hands free to interact with the products on the stands.
Try and book your hotel and travel up as early as possible to help make savings.
Budget permitting, but we always recommend trying to stay as close to the venue as possible. This will help save time and much needed energy.
Plan your journey to and from the venue so you know the best and easiest way.
Always pre-register for the show and try to arrive around 30 minutes before the show opens. This will help you to avoid standing in long queues.
At the show
Once you arrive make sure that all of your ‘must see’ exhibitors are still there and that any conference sessions are still in the program. Lots of changes can happen on the run up to a show.
Collect as much information as possible that is of interest to you or your colleagues. We always recommend that where possible to have literature and other materials emailed to you so you don't have to carry it around.
Explain to exhibitors when you meet them, that you are on a tight time schedule. This will help you get straight down to business. Obviously with some cultures you will need to leave the business chat till last!
Often there will be additional networking events, either run by the exhibitors or the show organisers. It is always good to attend them and make the most of networking with industry leaders.
Be prepared to amend your route. If one of your ‘must see’ exhibitors is busy then skip them and come back later when they get quieter.
Most venues will have a cloakroom, this can save energy and help make your networking smoother, instead of dragging your coats and extra bags around.
Always have a pen and paper to hand for any important notes you might need to make.
Remember to drink plenty of water and take a few breaks to refuel and rest those feet when you get a chance.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. So make sure you ask the questions you want the answers for.
Don’t be afraid to cut a conversation short if the exhibitor does not have a product or service that is of interest to you.
After the show
Write a short report, including who you wanted to see and who you actually saw.
Put together a follow up plan for the exhibitors you want to do business with.
Send an email to the exhibitors you met to make sure they send you any information you requested.