With so many exhibits to see at a trade show, you have to prioritise what matters to you. Discover the secrets to getting the most out of your next event.
Why you need to make the most of your time at an event
If you’ve ever been to a big trade show, you’ll know that there are far too many great things to see to get around to them all – as much as you might want to. When you walk through the doors and into the first hall, there is so much to take in and the whole place is abuzz with activity. It can be difficult to know where to begin, but I have one simple suggestion that’ll transform your event experience: be prepared.
At Interclean Amsterdam 2018, we’ll have more than 800 exhibitors. It’ll be the biggest professional cleaning and hygiene show ever, and that means you have to put together a plan to make the most of your time at the event. This can seriously make the difference between you dashing around not knowing where to look next and calmly meeting all the people you think can have a positive impact on your business.
That isn’t to say you have to stick to your plan rigidly, leaving no room for those unexpected moments that you want to engage with – perhaps a speech that captures your attention or an exhibitor you’d previously overlooked. If anything, having a plan makes it easier for you to be spontaneous when the opportunity arises, knowing full well you’re not missing out on the really important stuff to do so.
Seven top tips for trade show attendee success
Preparation is the key to making the most of any event – especially when it involves discovering ideas or partners that can drive the future success of your business. So here are seven ways to make sure you’re ready for your next trade show:
- Be clear about what you want to achieve
Whether you want to find new products, services or simply explore new technologies or ideas in your sector, you need to have an idea of why you’re attending a trade show. That will tell you whether you need to spend your time with exhibitors, watching expert talks or in breakout sessions with industry peers. And from there, you can begin to plan how your show will go.
- Prioritise the exhibits and sessions that matter to your business
Your first task is to explore the list of exhibitors, displays, speakers, forums and breakout sessions available at an event. Identify which ones appeal to you most, and make a list of them in priority order. There’s no set way of doing this – you simply have to have a rough idea of which ones you believe you can afford to drop if there’s a clash or your priorities change.
- Map out your route on the event’s floor plan
With most trade shows spread out over a number of rooms and floors, it can be easy to find yourself walking backwards and forwards unnecessarily to see the exhibits on your priority list. Plan a logical route between each stand on the floor plan, and you’ll make your day far more productive by reducing the time you spend walking around – not to mention the amount you’ll tire yourself out doing so.
- Work out how much time you actually have
This may seem obvious; however, you can’t just fill up your schedule with one exhibit after another. What happens if you want to spend more time talking to a potential supplier, or your next session is in a completely separate hall? Make sure you give yourself the right amount of time to engage with exhibits, and factor in the travel time between stands.
- Know what’s for lunch
You don’t actually have to know meal specifics, but make sure you allocate yourself time for breaks, drinks and food. Events bring long days, and it’s easy to get caught up in the show. However, you still need to take on fluids and replenish your energy if you want to be truly productive. Oh, and business lunches are an excellent way to network with other attendees…
- Wear comfortable shoes
Every little helps. You want to appear smart to other visitors, but you’ll be on your feet most of the day, walking around meeting lots of different people; the last thing you want is blisters holding you back and ruining your trade show experience.
- Have fun
Sure, you’re at an event to do business, but the best way to approach it is to enjoy your time there. As well as making it easier for you to network, having fun will allow you to be more open to new opportunities and help you come away having had a richer, more positive experience.
Put in the effort to gain the best experience
Trade shows are amazing experiences, and you’re bound to come away with a range of creative ideas for the future of your business – if not an order for new products or services. But to get the best possible experience, you have to put the effort in.
Interclean Amsterdam is the biggest show in the professional cleaning and hygiene industry, so it’s even more important to make the most of your time there. I hope my tips will help you have the best experience you can and achieve all of your goals.