Aug 2016

Simple Tips for Attending Your First Tradeshow

So you’re six months into your new job and… surprise! You’re scheduled to attend the company’s biggest annual event. It’s a great opportunity to learn and meet new people, but long days on your feet and being away from home can create challenges. Here are some simple tips for keeping it all together and capitalizing on the experience.

  1. Wear comfortable shoes!
    It can be tempting to bring new ones, but take it from someone who’s made that mistake. Don’t. If your events are anything like ours, you’ll be on the go from before the sun comes up until well after it goes down. Your feet will thank you for packing trusty kicks!
  2. Bring snacks and never pass up an opportunity to eat.
    Even if you’re not hungry at the moment, try to grab something whenever you get a chance. It also helps to keep an emergency stash – think energy bars, packages of tuna, etc. – to make sure you’re keeping your energy up when it’s too hectic to sit down for a meal.Same goes for water. Dehydration is no joke, so be sure you’re refilling regularly.
  3. Don’t bring a purse or a clutch.
    Proforma_Blog_Tradeshow_WalletI brought a wristlet to my first event and left all my valuables in random places more times than I can remember. You’ll be pulled into conversations, sessions and basically moving around a lot – so it will be easier than you think to lose track of anything not physically attached to you.The photo at left depicts the wallet/nametag all of Proforma’s event attendees receive at the very beginning. I use it for my credit cards, room keys, lip balm, gum, cash, cell phone and all the business cards I collect over the course of three to four days of socializing. It’s the best, and we can hook you up too!
  4. Sleep.
    Just trust me on this one. The only thing worse than 6:30 a.m. to non-morning people like me is 6:30 a.m. after a long night out. If you’re debating whether to turn in for the night or hit the town with the cool kids, just go to bed. They’ll still be your friends.
  5. Carpe Diem!
    Chances are you’re surrounded by leaders in your industry. Learn from them. Attend sessions even if they’re not required. Introduce yourself to people. Have conversations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is an opportunity – and your company chose to send or bring you for a reason.

Make the most of it!

Those of you road warriors with words of wisdom to share, please chime in with comments!