How to be a good attendee

How to make visiting a trade show or exhibition worthwhile.

It’s often the case that employees get ‘sent’ to an exhibition or trade show, without any real clear purpose of what they are supposed to do when they are there. The outcome will be much better if  some consideration is given to this beforehand.

What do you want to achieve?

There are several benefits to attending an exhibition including:

  • Business networking
  • Opportunity to learn (seminars, presentations etc)
  • Find out what’s new and upcoming in your industry
  • Do some research into competitors and related businesses
  • Get ideas for exhibition stands for the future

The question is, how to make the most of these opportunities.

When it comes to networking, who do you know that is going to be there? Is there somebody specific you’d like to meet? An exhibition is a great opportunity to find somebody who might normally be a bit elusive – you could make an initial introduction at the exhibition and arrange to meet up at a later date.

Are any of your peers or industry colleagues that you don’t get to see very often going to be there? Why not meet up for lunch or a coffee?

Are there any useful seminars or workshops that you could attend? Have a look at the organisers’ website and plan your visit to make the most of these opportunities.

Make sure you see any relevant displays, demonstrations or talks that take place – often an opportunity for a sit down, while learning something interesting.

Many exhibition stands are manned by enthusiasts who will talk to anybody that slows down as they walk past. Use this opportunity to collect some information on your competitors!

Take your camera or phone, and snap any stands that catch your eye – it’s a fantastic opportunity to see which stands work well, with lots of visitors and interaction … and which ones don’t.


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