Weekly Insights: How to Network at Trade Shows

Photo: FreeImages.com/LotusHead
Photo: FreeImages.com/LotusHead

There’s no reason why connecting with people at a trade show should be limited to the booth – in fact, it shouldn’t be. There are plenty of other opportunities to meet new people, discover common ground, and possibly even open new opportunities. (But be careful – you shouldn’t be actively selling outside your booth space.)

So here are a few networking tips for your next show:

  • Have at least one meal a day with customers or prospects during the show. Even better … make it a small group event and introduce people to each other.
  • Wear your name badge at all official show events (but not out on the street, to keep from making yourself a target for criminals).
  • Introduce yourself to speakers and other participants in seminars.
  • Make a point of introducing yourself to strangers and use people’s names. (Within reason of course … you don’t want to use their name in every sentence!)
  • At receptions, keep one hand free and always shake hands firmly.
  • After meeting someone new at an event, keep in touch through e-mail or social media and periodically send notes or links to items of interest.

(Adapted from Build a Better Trade Show Image by Marlys Arnold)

For more great networking advice for both during and after the event, check out the two-part interview with Cathy Jennings, “Make Networking Fun & Productive.” Her tips are especially helpful for introverts!

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