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Making the most of trade show visits

Miscellaneous | | By:

Make a “to see” shopping list. List the booths that interest you by aisle number, booth number and company name. Use markers to color code the list into several groups: “must see,” “want to see,” and “looks like an interesting company or product.” Keep your eyes open for the small company you haven’t heard of. You never know what connections you could make.

Wear comfortable walking shoes. It seems obvious, but take this one seriously. If your feet hurt, you won’t get much out of the show. Better yet, bring along two pairs of broken-in shoes and alternate.

Take care of yourself and go home healthy. Eat a good breakfast and carry a bottle of water with you. Never reach into a bowl of loose candy; unless the candy is individually wrapped, leave it in the bowl. Instead, keep a couple of candy bars or granola bars in your case.

Wash your hands often. You will shake hands with lots of people, so take along packaged wipes or a small bottle of hand sanitizer to use throughout the day.

Bring along a sturdy tote bag that keeps your hands free. One might be provided, but yours might be more comfortable to carry all the swag, papers, catalogs and other information you’ll pick up.

Bring plenty of business cards. Don’t rely on show badges to have your correct contact information. Giving someone your card as you talk can make your conversation more memorable. When someone gives you his or her card, write a short note on the back to remind yourself about the conversation.

Bring several large overnight delivery service envelopes. They come in handy to send information to your office that you want to keep, but don’t want to carry.

Anywhere can be a great place to meet people. Start a conversation with the person standing next to you in the registration line and exchange business cards. The best way to get another person’s card is to offer your card first. Plan to attend at least a couple seminars; you’re bound to meet people interested in the same topics. Keynote speeches offer insights and chances to connect with others.

There’s one more essential: don’t forget to have a good time.

Roy Katz is a business journalist based in Las Vegas, Nev.

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