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Thoughts on surviving exhibitions

01 March, 2023 Reading: 1:48 min

Exhibitions can be a test of endurance. Here are our tips on how to maximise a visit:

Thoughts on surviving exhibitions

It’s great to attend an exhibition to check out your competitors or discover something new that might help your business succeed more. In essence a big exhibition is essentially just an ’old-style’ marketplace, almost an anachronism these days – but people still like to meet and sell face-to-face. They are also a test of endurance and can be overwhelming. Here are our tips on how to maximise a visit:

  1. Be clear why you’re going: To sell, to research, to learn, to network and find partners… probably one of these is more important than others. Check this with your colleagues to make sure you’re all on the same page.

  2. Virtual visit first: Check through all exhibitors, classify them in some logical way: by size or perhaps into ‘competitor’, ‘potential partner’, ‘general interest’ and ‘irrelevant’. For your top five competitors or potential customers, spend time online getting to know their offers, their key people and list the top three to five things you want to ask them. Sometimes this might tip you towards attending virtually rather than in person, or doing both, to cover enough ground.

  3. Plan your day: If you’re alone it’s good to pull together your own list of who you want to meet, which talks to attend and why. If there are more of you going make a plan together to potentially split up and cover all the bases you need. Meet up regularly over the day, debrief and share ‘aha’ moments.

  4. Keep records somehow: Whether you use voice recording, video, an app of your own or from the show, an old-school notebook or something else, make a few notes of people you met, ideas and things that strike you, on the day… perhaps on the journey home.

  5. Travel light but pack what you need: Sounds obvious but always the last thing that’s considered! Sensible shoes, the right bag, chargers, snacks and water, maybe your laptop…

  6. Follow up those leads and contacts promptly: Consider presenting a short summary back to your team…

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