Trade Show Survival Tips

Wednesday, October 05, 2016 12:59 PM | Anonymous
The NLA is getting ready for the 2016 LCT-NLA Show East, but how ready are you? The East Show offers unparalleled networking opportunities and a valuable educational program. To prepare yourself for the best possible show experience, the NLA has put together a list of the most important tips that will help you before, during and after the show.

  1. Register early. As with most trade shows, the East Show offers cheaper registration rates for early registration. If you know you are planning to attend, register as early as possible to obtain the best deal. In addition, consider registering multiple people from your company as group discount rates are available.
  2. Book your hotel room early. Even though there is a room block set aside with special room rates for show attendees, you should still reserve your room as early as possible if you have specific requests for your room and to ensure that the room block doesn’t sell out before you book.
  3. Start networking prior to the event. Make a list of people you would like to connect with during event.  Consider reaching out to them before the show to schedule time to meet with them at the show.
  4. Download the show’s mobile app. You can create a personalized schedule of all of the sessions and events you would like to attend to keep you on track. You can also receive late-breaking information and alerts.
  5. Divide and conquer. Read through the agenda ahead of time and plan what you want to attend. If attending with a coworker, consider dividing up the sessions so that between you so that each of you has new information and insights to bring back to the office.
  6. Plan an exhibit hall strategy. Read the exhibitor list ahead of time and make a list of companies you want to speak with.  Take advantage of the exhibit hall hours to network with companies and other attendees.
  7. Bring business cards. When networking, your business card is key in making lasting connections. Write notes on the business cards you receive from others to remind yourself what you discussed with them.
  8. Check social media. LCT and the NLA will be posting on Facebook and Twitter during the show so check your social media frequently to see show updates and even add some of your own. When uploading pictures and posts, check to see if the show has a hashtag so others can see your show-related posts. You should also use the show hashtag if applicable.
  9. Venture outside your comfort zone. You might learn the most by attending sessions outside of your usual area of expertise.
  10. Don’t be afraid to approach people. All attendees are looking to network so put yourself out there to make as many connections as possible.
  11. Wear comfortable shoes. The distance between the meeting space/exhibit hall and your hotel room is going to require a lengthy walk. Make sure you wear supportive shoes to keep you moving and on your feet for the whole day, especially if you plan to take a few laps around the exhibit hall.
  12. Stay hydrated. Consider bringing your own water bottle to the show as it may be hard to find once you get to the meeting space. Drinking water will help keep you alert and active.
  13. Work in meal times. Even though the show will be jam-packed with great sessions and networking events, it is important set aside time to eat to sustain you through a full day of activity.
  14. Be prepared for anything. You can’t predict how you might feel or what might come up so be sure to pack aspirin, eye drops, prescription meds, band-aids, gum, mints, lip balm, hand sanitizer or anything that will keep you fully functioning to get the most out of your show experience. Walking back to your room to get anything will waste valuable time.
  15. Dress accordingly. LCT recommends a business casual dress code during the show. Be sure to dress professionally but comfortably for the long hours of sessions and events. Don’t forget to bring a jacket or sweater as meeting rooms tend to be chilly.
  16. Stay organized. You will come away with lots of notes, business cards, and names. Take thorough and concise notes of key take-aways with headings, bullet points, or whatever you need to decipher the information later.
  17. Keep a running list of ideas to implement right away. While some ideas may take longer to put into effect, you will probably learn a few things that you can use right away.
  18. Sleep. With a full and exciting schedule, it is important to get enough sleep so you have plenty of energy for the long show days. You may be doing late dinners or networking events, but make sure you make room in your schedule to rest and prepare yourself for the next day.
  19. Charge electronics. You will be using your phone for the mobile app, checking your emails and to stay connected with colleagues, family and friends. It is important to have any electronics you may use at 100% so you don’t have to interrupt your day to re-charge them. Bring a mobile charger as outlets may be hard to find and you also don’t want to be stuck next to an outlet if you do find one.
  20. Don’t overdo it. Enjoy the social events and networking gatherings, but don't overdo it.  You don’t want to miss out on the next day’s events because of a hangover or exhaustion. It’s okay to unwind and enjoy a cocktail or two, but make sure you stay professional and considerate as these events can be very helpful in creating business connections.
  21. Follow up with people you met at the conference. Use the business cards and connections you made at the show and reach out to everyone you encountered. You never know where one introduction could take you and your business so follow up with everyone.
  22. Share what you learned with your team. The show is an excellent learning opportunity not only for you but your team as well. Even if they didn’t attend the show, they can still take the information you learned and implement in their day-to-day work. Take the time to walk them through what you learned and create a game plan for how your whole team can improve their skills and grow your business.

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