Trade Show Etiquette & How to Network at a Conference

Volumes have been written on trade show and conference etiquette and networking, yet people have failed to grasp the core. We’ll attempt to summarize the most important findings.

Be Visible

Always try to speak at events to enhance your credibility. Even if you don’t have a booth, it still helps to make a proposal for a workshop or showcase. If you manage to nab a place, let your customers know you’ll be present at the event, and at what time. Invite potential customers to the trade show or conference and schedule for them to meet other people at your stand. When other visitors see the flow of traffic around your booth, it’ll attract their interest.

Travel Wisely

Use flight time to look through the catalogue to select workshops you’d like to attend. Also use this time to check e-mails so you’ll be better prepared when you arrive.

Get this stuff out of the way before driving to the event, especially if it’s a few hours away. If the event is in the vicinity, think about getting a cab so you can take the time to go over materials. This way you won’t get lost or show up nerve-wrecked from the drive. When networking, looking stressed is a major turn-off to other people. Also when not networking.

Go to Every Workshop Possible

The fuller your schedule, the better it is. Maximize your networking by attending every class or workshop. Take part in extracurricular activities, if any, even if they’re not your cup of tea. Use every second you have to make contact with your fellow participants. To use mealtimes, make sure everyone in your group goes to the breakfasts and lunches organized. Meals are a great chance to start a conversation with other people in a more casual environment.

Don’t RushHome

Optimize your networking further after the end of a trade show or conference. Don’t schedule your flight on the same day as the event. Do it the next morning instead. Morning flights get cancelled or delayed much more rarely than afternoon or evening flights.

Do Talk to Strangers

A conference is one occasion to break the rule. Talking to people you don’t know improves your chances of building new relationships. Sticking with the crowd you came with is a common mistake people make. After all, your coworkers aren’t the ones buying from your company.

Pleasure AFTER Business

Finally, use the time you spend flying home to catch up on e-mails and deal with other business-related issues so you can really relax when you come home. Time with family and friends will recharge your batteries too. When the next business day comes, you’ll be ready to make more sales than ever!