Organization: Ramping Up for a Trade Show
I have three trade shows coming up this month. As always, it feels like there’s more information than time available to properly digest everything. So I try to prepare beforehand. Here’s some ways that you can, too:
-Read any information available on-line; this allows you to compile a list of “must-attends” and “skip-its.”
-Don’t forget to pre-register for limited-attendance seminars, panels, mixers, even contests.
-See if there’s a map of the trade show floor; highlight those booths you must stop by.
-Visit the web sites, blogs and other social media accounts of companies you’re interested in. They’ll usually give teasers about what they’re unveiling at the event.
-Contact and make appointments with any important companies and clients before heading to the show – often their calendars will close before they even arrive.
-Prepare for any meetings beforehand: research the companies, products and professionals. You’ll appear knowledgeable and legitimate.
-Schedule some flex time for the days you’re attending – some of the biggest opportunities come from informal coffee breaks and after-event drinks!
-Try to be selective about what materials you cart back from the event, and what can be sent to you. (I still bring a collapsible roller cart – it inevitably fills up.)
-Plan your outfits to express your desired professional image; if time is at a premium, this is one less worry. Don’t forget alternates. And extra accessories.
Even though my dealings are more creative than corporate, being organized in advance allows me the freedom to make decisions on the fly when I’m at an event, while still remembering to take care of important business. With a bit of preparation, business can indeed mix with pleasure.