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Trade Show Survival Strategies

Trade Show Survival Strategies

Janet Barclay. MVA

Much has been written about preparing for trade shows where you will be an exhibitor, but since most small business owners will be visiting booths at least as often as they’ll be hosting them, here are a few tips to help you make the most of those occasions. Some are more obvious than others, but sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most useful.

1. Dress for Comfort

You will want to look your best, so dress as you would for any business meeting, but keep in mind that you will be on your feet for a long time, and wear sensible shoes if at all possible. If you are uncomfortable, you may find it hard to engage in conversation with exhibitors and other people attending the event. Similarly, avoid bulky coats that will cause you to get overheated. If the weather dictates that you must wear a coat, look for a cloakroom or other place to leave it so you can move about unencumbered.

2. Travel Light

Avoid bringing anything with you that you don’t need. By the time you’ve walked around for an hour or two, five pounds will feel like fifty, so if you typically carry a large purse, leave it at home and use a small one that holds only the essentials. A shoulder bag will keep your hands free for picking up brochures and other materials, and of course, for shaking hands with people that you meet.

3. Speak to the Exhibitors

Don’t help yourself to giveaways such as pens and other gifts without stopping to talk to the exhibitor. Yes, they brought those items in order to give them away, but they have paid money to be there in order to promote their products or services, so at least stop and say hello. Even if you’re not in the market for what they offer, you may know someone else who is, in the future, if not now. It’s all about growing your network!

On the other hand, if there are a lot of others waiting to speak to the exhibitor, don’t monopolize his or her time, especially if you’re only making casual conversation.

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