Trade shows can be quite overwhelming with hundreds of exhibitors and attendants. However, they can be incredibly beneficial to your career as they offer opportunities to meet different people across the industry and learn about emerging products and advancements. Here are some hacks that I find to be incredibly helpful in getting the most out of a trade show:
- Set appointments
As anyone who has been to a trade show can tell you, there are an overwhelming amount of exhibitors and boots as you walk into a trade show. There can also be quite a bit of crowding around booths! I find it to be helpful to schedule appointments with people you really want to meet ahead of time so you can be sure to meet with them. If there is anyone in particular you think can really help you advance your career, prioritize setting a meeting with them.
- Use a carry-on suitcase!
There is nothing worse than landing somewhere to realize the bag you checked is nowhere to be found. I highly recommend cramming as much as you can into a carry-on bag to avoid getting into that situation! If you absolutely need to check a bag, make sure you pack the essentials like toiletries, makeup, and an outfit for the next day into your carry-on bag and pack the rest in your checked bag.
For ladies, be sure to think about the shoes you bring. You’re likely to be on your feet for 10-12 hours, so pack shoes you are comfortable walking around in for that long! I always pack either flats or open toed heels.
- Think before you drink
Before going out for the evening, plan how much you’re going to drink so you don’t over consume. This is absolutely key to making sure that you are on point and ready for the meetings you have the next day. I like to alternate my alcoholic drinks with water to make sure that I don’t consume too much.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
This leads me into my next point– stay hydrated!
In a trade show, you’re going to be walking around and talking for hours, probably much longer than your body is used to. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to fuel your body and brain to stay on top of its game!
- Do some decompression
I always like to do some decompression the night before attending a trade show. Decompression can bring relief to tight muscles and stimulate your nervous system. I like to lay on my back with my legs in the air to relieve any tension I feel in my back or legs. This always helps me feel my best before being on my feet the next day!
- Follow up after trade shows
It’s always best practice to send follow up notes to the people you meet at trade shows. I recommend writing these follow ups on the plane ride home to make sure you get them sent out quickly. Write a note for every business card you collect!
I recommend moo.com. I love using their custom stationary, and the box they come in is great at storing the business cards you gather to keep everything organized and in the same place.
I hope these tips and hacks are helpful for you as you get ready to attend a trade show! What are some other hacks that you use? I would love to hear about them!