Well, here are a few tips from an old pro.
First, do a little research on what vendors and attendees will be there, particularly if you are going with a specific need in mind. If possible, pre-arrange a time to meet with a vendor. This will save you time, and you’ll avoid standing around waiting for them to finish with someone else. If there is a particular attendee you want to meet, contact them in advance as schedules tend to fill up quickly when attending trade shows. Don’t take the chance of just running into someone. Next, pre-register because lines can be very long, and you don’t want to waste your time standing in one.
Once you have all of this out of the way, it’s time to start planning what you should pack. Let’s start with comfortable, professional clothes (you can’t imagine what I have seen some people walk around in. It is not a vacation). Next, you’ll want to pack comfortable worn-in shoes ( I made the mistake of taking a new pair once … what was I thinking?), ample business cards, something to take notes on, your camera phone, mints ( you may be doing a lot of talking) and sunglasses. Sunglasses you ask? Yes, if you are like me and have sensitive eyes, the show can be a bit bright. Or you can wear them to just look cool!
Okay, now that our bags are packed, it’s off to the show. As a first timer to a show, I typically do a quick first pass, orienting myself with the hall and making mental notes of exhibits I want to come back to. For this, I stay in the aisle. If I’m asked to come into an exhibit, I politely let the individual know I will be returning. As I make my way through, I look for seating areas to take a break or grab a quick snack.
Once I’m back at the entrance, I mentally plan my attack. If I saw exhibits that were of interest to me, I typically visit them first. I want to be fresh and alert and not show fatigue from my visit. You will also find yourself spending more time with these vendors, often sitting down and having a coffee or cool drink. As you are walking, be prepared to be bombarded by vendors to stop and see their latest widget. After all, that is why they are there. Be fair and polite. Over the years, I have devised a few responses that are courteous to-the-point. For example, I am walking past an exhibit and an energetic sales representative says, “Hey, have you seen our newest product?”
Smiling, I say, no I haven’t, but if you can tell me about it in three minutes, I will listen. This puts the situation in your control. If you like what you are hearing, you can stay longer. If, after the three minutes, you don’t, you can politely say that you don’t see an immediate need for this product and excuse yourself. Don’t feel you are being rude, because you are not. You are simply freeing the rep up to spend time with someone else who might find a need for their new product. Time is valuable for both the attendees and the exhibitors. Make sure to take breaks, sit down, make notes, and review things of interest you have seen and things you might want to go back to again. On average, I walk a show floor three times. It is amazing how many things of interest you can miss. Phew, I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted! I hope these simple tips will make for an engaging and rewarding show floor experience at Digital Signage Expo 2017.