Trade shows are a great opportunity for any business or entrepreneur to interact with others in the same industry, and to make mutually beneficial connections. These events often draw in hundreds of people, which can be a daunting concept if you’re not very experienced in networking. Whether it’s your first time at a trade show and you are unsure of the procedure, or if you’re naturally shy and aren’t used to talking publicly, these tips will help give you the confidence to go out and make a great impression.
Preparation is very important if you want to get the most out of a trade show event. If you are naturally uncomfortable pitching to new people, then it can help to practice before hand. Put yourself in a situation that you’re more comfortable in and practice communicating your message accurately, perhaps to a friend or co-worker. It’s also important to remember that the trade show starts well before the event itself. Make sure to contact other attendees that you’re interested in talking to prior to the event. This will generate dialogue and establish a pre-existing relationship, taking the pressure off when you meet them in person.
Creating a good first impression is important, and that will depend on how you present yourself and your brand. This doesn’t just mean you have to dress smart, your visual setup is very important when trying to draw people in. Using high quality graphics and promotional material will create a professional image reflective of your brand. Try to think outside of the box when planning your presence. Using things like interactive digital screens and unique display solutions will draw people’s attention and help you stand out from the crowd. It can also be a natural talking point and conversation starter, which can help to combat nerves!
Remember that everyone is human and you’re all at the event for the same reason; to meet new people. Act naturally and allow your personality to come across. People can tell if they are being sold something or if you are simply pushing an agenda. Being friendly, authentic and interested in what the other person has to say will create more genuine and long-lasting connections. It’s also important to leave people with something to remember you by. Try being more creative than simply handing out business cards that are easy to lose.