Attending an expo can be an overwhelming experience. The big national exhibitions usually offer 300+ Exhibitors, 100+ Masterclass Sessions, 50+ Seminars plus enough leaflets and handouts to keep you in bedtime reading for the next year! How do you overcome this potential information overload and ensure you make the most of your visit?
Firstly, be crystal clear as to your purpose for going. Is it; educational, searching for a new supplier, or checking out the competition. Whatever your reason will dictate how you spend your time, and you need to spend your time wisely.
If the purpose of your visit is educational, choose your seminars and masterclasses carefully. You want to walk away from a session with at least one new piece of information which you can apply or implement in your business. If you’re searching for a new supplier, do your homework before hand. Research those suppliers you’re interested in, get an overview as to what they offer, then when you visit them on stand you can have an informed discussion and look to qualify them in or out of your shortlist. Alternatively, you may just be checking out the competition. Go and visit their stand, look at their branding, content, how their people interact with the attendees. What’s their footfall, how are people engaged? Learn from their exhibit, as you never know next year it maybe you with a stand.
— Royston Guest (@Royston_Guest) June 4, 2017
Once your clear on your purpose you can start planning your visit. Sounds obvious but read the show guide, a useful summary of what’s on, when & where. This will become your go-to resource for the day. Depending on the expo, Masterclass sessions, usually led by a well-known industry authority, need to be booked in advanced. Whilst Seminars are on a first come first served basis. Based on who you want to see, schedule your day making sure you leave enough time between each one in order to grab that well-earned coffee refuel and toilet break!
Next, you need to short-list the exhibitors you want to visit. If you are clear who you want to visit, great add them to your list. If you’re not sure, then the show guide usually provides a useful A-Z summary of all exhibitors. Highlight the one’s of interest and add them to your list.
With all your planning and preparation complete you’ve now set yourself up for success. But I couldn’t finish without touching on a couple of additional pointers.
On expo day, arrive when the doors open. I promise you won’t be the only one there. In fact, you’ll probably have to stand in a queue. Over the course of the day the big exhibitions can see c10,000 people walk through its doors. These shows get busy, very busy. Arriving early gives you the opportunity to get your bearings, and visit your list of exhibitors before the crowds start amassing.
As I’ve mentioned, get your bearings. The exhibition halls are huge, and without realizing you can start to feel akin to a rabbit in headlights! On the show map locate the Seminar and Masterclass theatres as you’ll spend most of your day visiting these. Don’t forgot a pen & notepad to scribble all the insight and learning you’ll receive whilst attending the various free sessions.
Being prepared and planning your day can make the difference between a good expo and a great expo. Whilst it may not have cost you an entrance ticket to attend, you have still invested your time and energy. It’s now over to you to make it worth it.
Royston Guest is CEO of Pti-Worldwide and author of business growth book, Built to Grow. A proven time-tested formula full of practical strategies, tools and ideas into what it takes to build a truly high performing organization, which delivers accelerated, sustained, and profitable growth.
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