Whether it’s your first trade show or your tenth, most of us can use some tips and tricks for making it to the end of the event in once piece. Here’s the official BRA guide for how to survive a trade show.
- Dress to impress.
Agenda is in Long Beach, Surf Expo is in Florida, and Snow Show is in Denver. In case you haven’t noticed, those are very different cities with very different climates. Make sure you check the weather before you go and pack the right types of clothes. It doesn’t matter if you’re working a booth or meeting with vendors—the chances are good that you’ll be moving around, making connections, and on your feet for the majority of the day. Look professional, but make sure you’re comfortable, too.
- Have a plan but be flexible.
Trade shows are big events where you’ll have access to the movers and shakers of your industry. Between visiting booths, listening to speakers, and attending meetings, you’ll quickly find yourself stretched thin. Before the show begins, look through the program, study the booth floor plan, and decide which events are most important to you. Make sure to leave a little wiggle room, though. Sometimes, the best connections and experiences happen when you least expect them.
- Leave your laptop home but bring your smartphone.
Let’s face it—if you’re doing a trade show right, you’re not sitting at a desk or in a hotel room with your laptop. You’re talking to real, live people, who share your passions and understand your business, which is the perfect reason to cut yourself loose from your computer and enjoy yourself. Don’t be too disconnected, though. Keeping your smartphone ready and charged will allow you to follow the conference hashtag, contribute to the bigger conversation, and ask other attendees for their best dinner and drink recommendations.
- Eat, drink, and be merry.
The packed schedule and fast pace of a trade show will leave you spinning in more ways than one. While you might be tempted to stay out late with your new friends, make sure to take care of yourself first. Get enough sleep. Eat regular meals. Hydrate. By staying healthy you’ll ensure that you get the most out of the whole event, and that includes the after party.
- Follow up.
The experience doesn’t end when the show is over! After you get home and settle back into your routine, make sure to follow up on the ideas you heard, the things you learned, and the people you met. Now is the time to go through the notes you took and the handouts you collected (you did take notes, right?) and form a plan to implement the changes and pursue the opportunities that most excited you during the trade show.
No matter which trade show you’re attending, we’re certain these tips will help you make the most of the experience. For more business and lifestyle tips focusing on the surf, skate, snow, and wake community, like BRA on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
See you at the show!