|1. MAKE FRIENDS FIRST. I have found that it is important to make new contacts you can talk to after the show is over. Sometimes a show can be overwhelming and you can’t take it all in, but if you make new friends, you can do both: learn from people at the show, and learn from them afterwards. My first time I went to a trade show I focused too much on learning, and I didn’t make enough contacts. Now I know: Build contacts first, learn second.
2. GO IN TEAMS. When you go to a show alone, it is harder to bring all the good ideas and positive energy back to your company. If you can afford it, go with someone else from your company or your town. Having shared experiences and shared ideas will make it easier for you to execute on them once you get back to work.
3. COME WITH GOALS. Meet with your company before hand, and collect goals that your coworkers or employees want you to focus on. Write down your own goals. If you are going with a team to the show, you can divide the goals amongst your team, or give everyone the same set of goals to work on.
4. DEBRIEF DAILY. Take time to debrief at the end of each day of the show. Either do this as a team with your staff; or if you go alone, hook up with someone and share the top ideas you each learned.
5. ASK QUESTIONS. One of the best ways to network, is to ask others about their business, and what they are trying to improve on or work on. Networking is about helping the other guy or gal. So show an interest in their business, and they will more likely show an interest in yours.
“People don’t care what you know,
until they know that you care.”
6. BREAKFAST. Go to “Breakfast With Champions” every morning. This is the #1 value of NALP’s Landscapes show, and the best place to make friends and learn applicable ideas. Don’t oversleep.
7. CONFERENCE BUDDY. Make contacts and set a time to meet them later in the day to talk about who you heard, what you learned, and how you will apply it to your business.
“It is not just what you learn but
who you meet, that makes your trip worthwhile.”
8. LEADERSHIP. Get involved with your association leadership. If you go to Landscapes/GIE+Expo, sit in the NALP Leadership meetings that happen throughout the conference. These are where the movers and shakers are hang’n out. Get involved; it is easy and worthwhile.
9. AROUND THE BAR. Evening time is when the best sharing and learning happens. In Louisville at Landscapes/GIE+Expo the bar at the Omni Hotel is excellent for networking. Or go to the association sponsored events. Some go on until 1am.
10. SHARE YOUR GOALS. Come with a clear set of goals, and share them with a few people–they may point out seminars for you to attend, and people for you to meet.
“People who set and share goals
are more likely to hit their goals!”
11. BRING BUSINESS CARDS. Come with enough business cards so you don’t run out. This happens way too often!