Welcome to the world of trade shows and conferences! You may be a seasoned traveler in this world or a newcomer, but there are some simple things you can do to make sure your time is spent well. This article will offer tips and tricks for improving your networking skills at these events.
When you’re heading to a trade show, there are a few things that you should do to prepare. First and foremost, know what you want to achieve at the event. Why are you going? What do you hope to gain from it? In other words: Do your homework!
Second, make sure that you know all of the details associated with the trade show so that there’s no way for you to miss an important aspect of your experience there. This includes knowing when registration begins and ends, which speakers will be present at what times during each day of events – everything!
Also, be sure that you bring along business cards or brochures for any potential clients you may meet along your journey through this event.
Be welcoming to everyone, even people you don’t know.
Be friendly and approachable, open to conversation and interaction with others. Ask questions that are relevant to the topic of their booth or ask about their business in general. Also, pay attention to trade show display rentals that they are using for information. Topics for conversation include:
- What inspired them to start their company?
- How long they’ve been in business?
- What sets them apart from other companies in their industry?
The more specific your questions are, the better.
Remember names! This is easier said than done when there are dozens of people around us at any given time. But try as best as possible not only because it shows respect for those around you but also because this will help if we want something from these folks again. You might also want to consider writing down some notes during conversations. If needed, you will have the information available instead of relying solely upon memory alone.
Listening is a skill that can be learned. We all know what it feels like to feel listened to, and we could all use more of that feeling in our lives. It’s not hard to learn, but the most important thing is to try!
When you’re listening to people, think about what they’re saying and not saying. What are their intonations? How do they look? What does their body language say? You’ll find that there are many ways for someone’s words or actions to contradict each other.
They may sound like they have no time for anything else—but their body language might indicate otherwise. They might be leaning back in their chair with uncrossed legs (which indicates relaxation), smiling or making eye contact (which shows enjoyment or interest), or fidgeting with clothes or jewelry (which suggests nervousness).
When you are at a trade show, be genuine. It is important to be yourself and not try to be someone else. You should be open-minded, talk with people and ask them questions. This will get their attention. You should try to avoid being pushy or aggressive, as this may make other attendees feel uncomfortable.
Be confident in what you do and who you are, but don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know something right away because everyone starts somewhere!
A recent study from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business discovered that people do not take demonstrations of emotional intelligence at face value. They’re far too distrustful. They are looking for more than simply indicators of emotional intelligence. They want to know if it’s genuine—if your emotions are genuine.
The best way to network at trade shows is by being a gracious host or guest. What does that mean? A gracious host is someone who welcomes you with open arms, treats you with respect, and makes sure you feel comfortable. A good guest follows the same principles. They are respectful of your space and time and make an effort to get along with others.
What can attendees do to be better hosts or guests at trade shows? Here are some examples:
- Offer people food and drink when they arrive. It’s always nice to have something to nibble on while trading business cards!
- Ask people about themselves. This is a great way for both parties in the conversation to feel more comfortable. Talking about what they do for work or what interests them outside of work.
If a business invites you to meet them at their booth, be prepared for last-minute changes. You may find that they’ve already left their booth and are mingling elsewhere in the exhibition hall. Don’t panic! Just follow the signs with the person’s name on them until you find them.
Also, remember that many events have multiple sessions happening simultaneously throughout the day. Even if you have paid for an all-day pass, don’t get too comfortable in one session. You may find out that something is happening later on that same day that would have been more beneficial for your business needs.
Flexible thinking occurs naturally in all people, but it can be hindered by another brain capacity, the ability to dismiss unsuitable desires and filter out “crazy” notions. The human brain is not a single information processor that grinds through an algorithm on its route to addressing a problem. Instead, it functions as a collection of interconnected and competitive systems.
You’ve done your homework, and now you’re ready to go. Here are some tips to make sure that you have a positive experience:
Be prepared to ask questions. If they don’t know who you are, they won’t be able to help you out. When networking at trade shows, attendees must know who they’re talking with so that they can answer any questions the attendee may have about their business or product/service offerings.
Be prepared for any question asked of you. Most people are not shy about asking questions when it comes to doing business with someone new. However, this also means that as an attendee at a trade show, it is your responsibility to be prepared for these questions and answer them in a way that will inspire confidence in your abilities. It will also convince prospects that working with you would be mutually beneficial.
Confidence is contagious. The more confident you are, the more comfortable other people will feel around you—and therefore, more likely they’ll be to approach you with questions or ideas of their own. And beyond that, confidence makes it easier for people to see things from your point of view. That’s because they’re not distracted by all those “what ifs” running through their heads. People respect confidence. They don’t respect doubts or fears, or hesitation. So even if it feels awkward at first, putting yourself out there with confidence can only work in your favor in terms of making connections and building relationships during trade shows.
Additional studies have found that believing in oneself boosts performance. For example, behavioral psychologists Albert Bandura and Robert Wood discovered that self-confidence improved problem-solving, flexibility, and overall performance.
- Be prepared.
- You should know what you want to get out of the event and how you will achieve it.
- Have a list of key people, companies, or organizations that you want to meet at the show. Research these ahead of time and think about how you might connect with them during your visit.
- Prepare simple marketing materials that allow others to connect with who, what, and how you offer value at an event. You don’t need lots of extra stuff on hand. Just have something ready in case someone asks for more information.
And that’s a wrap! Now you know the best way to network at trade shows. There are many other ways to do it, but we think these tips will help you get off on the right foot. You can always refer back to this blog post if you need a refresher on how to mix and mingle with confidence at any event.