How to make the most of attending a Business Expo
Attending a business expo is a great way to learn about resources available to you for growing your business. However, it can be overwhelming with a full day of connections and gathering information. Here are some tips to help you make the most of the experience:
- Before you attend, think about what types of connections and information you need most. That will help you to be selective in the tables you visit and the information you pick up. For example, if your main goal for attending is to find website resources, make a point of visiting those exhibitors first.
- As soon as you register for an expo, schedule time on your calendar to go through the materials and information you’ll collect (preferably within 24 hours while the information is still fresh in your mind)
- At the Expo, review the list of exhibitors and be selective in the ones you’ll visit right away. If you find yourself with enough time and energy, you can always visit the other tables after you visit the ones that are most useful for you
- Remember that the exhibitors are there to be resources for YOU. They’ve invested time, energy and money to be represented at the event. Be respectful and make a great impression by learning what they are offering vs trying to promote yourself or your business to them. You’ll make the best impression by being gracious and allowing the exhibitors time to meet with the other attendees at the event. If you meet an exhibitor who initiates interest in learning more about what you offer, be succinct and let them know you can send them the information they requested following the event. LinkedIn is another good way to stay connected with the resources you meet. To help you stand out among all of their connection requests, be sure to include a note reminding them where you met and a personalized note about why you’d like to connect on LinkedIn.
- After the event, go through the items and information you’ve collected. Separate into these piles:
1) Information and resources that are of topmost interest to you (put a note to yourself in the upper right hand corner of when you will read or take action).
2) Information that you need time to think through (still put a note in corner to revisit later, perhaps with the question you need answered before you can decide whether your are interested)
3) Avoid clutter. Information you received that you aren’t interested in can go straight into the recycling
4) Promotional products (then put the promotional products where you will use them so they don’t just sit in the bag and take up space in your office)
- Next, be sure to go through and read and/or take action on the information/resources that are of most interest to you.
- Lastly, reflect on your Expo experience. What did you like about the Expo you attended? What did you learn? Did you make the types of connections you’d wanted to make? What do you wish had been different about the expo? How would you change your approach the next time you attend and Expo (e.g. arrive early, attend with a colleague, have questions in mind for the exhibitors…). This will help you determine what types of business expos you attend in the future and how to make the most of your experience.
Apply these tips and make the most of your time and energy in attending a business expo.
Win/Win Networking author and presenter
(and frequent attendee and tabler at business expos!)