How to Prepare for InfoComm: #MyInfoCommAdvice

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How to prepare for the Trade Show: Tips for Exhibitors and Attendees

With each day that gets us closer to InfoComm 2016 a lot of us are finishing our pre-show preparations to deliver the best experience to our customers and visitors. To leave a lasting impression of your company that the customers will remember for a long time, we’ve compiled a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves for you to use.

Let’s start off with things you can do before the show to prepare for a successful event:

  1. As an exhibitor, major stuff like contacting the organizer, getting a booth,renting the booth equipment, booking your hotel and flights, deciding what products to showcase at the show, printing promotional material should be the main focus for the whole preparation for the show. Make sure to design your booth according to your company’s current branding and product line. Engage your visitors at the booth. Remember the famous Maya Angelou comment “They may forget what you said but will remember how you made them feel”? Making them feel special, valued and entertained will not only increase engagement in your booth but also will help you establish valuable emotional connection. You can do that by adding some game elements to your booth experience that will also educate visitors about your company.
  2. If you’re preparing to attend the show make sure to print a  lot of business cards. Making meaningful connections can be your goal for the show and leaving a lasting positive impression is crucial. Pro tip: You can write key points from the conversation on the back of the card. That will make your follow up more personalized and relevant to the conversation you had.
  3. Schedule, schedule, schedule. Plan your InfoComm 2016 experience beforehand: schedule time to be away from your own booth and mark the booths you want to visit, get acquainted with the demo schedules and make sure to set up appointments with your current customers, prospects, or business partners. You can confirm their availability via email invitation a couple of days before the meeting. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.
  4. Exhibitors, prepare for the meaningful meetings in advance and make it easy for your customers to meet you. If you’re planning to have business meetings with clients over dinner make reservations beforehand.  If you delay making reservations, your business meeting will not have the same outcome as anticipated since the restaurants might be busy and you might have to wait to be seated.

During the show:

  1. Make sure to arrive a bit early on the first day of the show to catch up with colleagues over a cup of coffee and stroll around the venue after the registration. Rushing dulls the experience and you want to start the day with excitement and positive energy.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes. Standing and walking around can take all day and by the end of it you don’t want to be focusing on your shoes all the time but rather concentrate on the information you’re getting from the show and networking.
  3. Stay hydrated! Bring a bottle of water. Since the trade shows usually take place in closed environment sometimes the the air can be very dry so you’ll need to stay on top of your water drinking. Most of the trade shows have water stations where you can refill your water bottle for free.
  4. Attend the opening keynote especially if it’s your first time at the show. The words from organizers, sponsors, and guests will not only give you the idea what to focus on during your networking but also will give you a brief breakdown of the day so you can plan better.
  5. Try to network everywhere: over a cup of coffee, during break sessions, at the booths. Focus on making connections with people, understand their problems and figure out the ways how your company can help solving them. Remember, it is not only  a great opportunity to gain new customers but also a valuable platform to showcase your company as a thought leader who cares about what its customers have to say.
  6. Keep your badge exposed at all occasions, this is the first piece of information people see about you so why hide it? After all, we’re here to gain connections, right?
  7. Always opt for soft media (email subscriptions etc) but don’t hesitate to take brochures as well, they present not only a great piece of information about the company but also can be used as a fan when it’s too hot. Double win!
  8. Do whatever you like but Don’t skip meals. Remember, to stay the most productive your brain needs a lot of energy to process all the new information you usually get at the trade show (new products, new connections, company names etc). If you know you will not have time to grab a lunch, bring a snack. Ready-to-go options like whole nuts and protein bars will not replace the full course meal but will keep you full for some time and they don’t take a lot of space in your bag. And if you’re enjoying the conversation with someone you just met, ask them to continue the conversation over lunch or dinner this way you will not only have a nice conversation over a meal but also leave a great impression.
  9. Freebies like USB keys, pens, notebooks, power bars are available at some booths, so don’t hesitate to take one. They can be used throughout the show and can be a great tool to remember the conversations you had with vendors.

After the show:

  1. Make sure to follow up with all the connections you’ve made during the show, and thank them for taking time to visit your booth or talking to you.
  2. Make sure to connect with prospects on social media. Check Twitter for hashtag mentions and @InfoCommShow account activity to stay up-to-date with everything that’s going on at the show. You might meet the person you wanted to talk to for a long time or reach out to an influencer.