Maximizing Your Time at Trade Shows & Conferences


You are going out of town to a trade show or conference. Your co-workers are kidding you about how much fun you will have and that maybe you might even do a little work while your gone if you can get out of the pool or off the golf course. But professionals know how much work these events are and how tired you are on the way home. Here are a few tips to make sure you get the greatest benefit for your time and money.

Before You G

· Review the list of programs offered and the list of exhibitors. Prioritize your objectives. Do you have a specific reason for going (a specific job or client) or are you just going for general information? Do you want to focus on products, seminars, competitors or all three? If you are focusing on products, are getting brochures sufficient or do you need to talk to a rep?

· Prioritize the top 3 seminars in each time slot. Highlight both the seminars and the booths you intend to visit in the event brochure. Check for parking, access, public transportation, food, and entrance times for booths and programs.

Working the Show

· Fifteen minutes before each seminar, go into rooms from each of the programs you are interested in and pick-up any handouts. (Carry a bag, briefcase, or folder to store handouts every day). Review the handouts for content. Are your priorities still the same? Does the content match what you thought you would get? Are any of the handouts so complete you no longer need to attend the program?

· When attending the seminar sit near the rear doors. If the presenter doesn’t excite you in the first 10 minutes go to the next program on your priority list. Don’t be afraid to get up and leave. It’s your time and money. Trust me, the presenter will get over it (unless everyone leaves)!

· When you need to take a break – use the product displays/booths for relaxing. Remember where you left off so you can pick up there the next day. Whenever possible attend roundtable discussions – these are usually very informative and dealing with real-life issues that you probably face in your business.

· Take time at the end of each day to assess the day’s productivity and determine how to make the next day more profitable. If your trip allows it, take the time to visit similar businesses in your industry in the local community. I’ll guarantee you’ll learn something you can plug into your business as soon as you return home.

· On the flight back, prioritize what you gathered and try to find one or two things you can accomplish the first week home. Are there items or information you should share with others? It’s great for you and sends the message to your co-workers you weren’t playing golf!

For more information on how you could improve your time management or improve employee effectiveness, you can reach Jim Kress at COCC at 383-7712.


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