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      How to succeed at an exhibition

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      Trade shows can seem daunting at times. With so many suppliers to see, seminars to attend and people to network with, it can all feel a little overwhelming. As we’re attending The Meetings Show this week, we thought we’d give you some top tips for having a fun and successful time at an exhibition.

      Plan ahead
      Take a look at the exhibitor list ahead of time to pick out the ones you want to see the most. It’s a good idea to show the list to your boss too so he or she can give you a list of the ones they’re interested in. Get their stand numbers on a list if they’re available so you’re prepared for the big day. Keep your budget in mind so you can have informed conversations with the suppliers.

      Get a map
      Some exhibitions will release a map of the event ahead of the opening day; if not, there will certainly be on available at the venue. Get one as soon as you can and circle the stands of the suppliers you want to visit, then plan a route so you don’t waste too much time wandering around on the day.

      Schedule in some networking
      Try to find out if there are any open networking events going on at the exhibition or afterward. Many suppliers will have receptions on their stands during the day, and some even host get-togethers in the evening. Can’t find information ahead of time? Grab an event guide on the day, listen out for announcements, and ask around to see if anybody knows of some interesting events to attend.

      Learn, learn, learn
      Exhibitions are the perfect place to learn and develop your skills. If there are seminars on offer at the event – most of them will be free – be sure to make it a mission to attend some of them.

      Dress wisely
      Be sure to wear the right attire for the event you’re attending. If it’s a business exhibition, then smart office wear is probably the best option. But think about the fact that you’ll be on your feet for most of the day; opt for comfortable flat shoes, or at least pack an extra pair in case your feet start to hurt.

      Bring the essentials
      Remember to pack your bag with everything you’ll need for the day; a notebook and pen (or two), plenty of business cards, your badge for the event, your phone and laptop charger (or one of those handy new charging packs), and some snacks in case you’re too busy to grab lunch.

      When you get home
      When you return from the event, spend some time going over your notes so you can report back to your boss about what you achieved on the day. Follow up with the suppliers you found the most useful and get some meetings in the diary to move forward with proposals. Most importantly, start putting the things you learned into practice at the office.

      Attending The Meetings Show this week? Stop by and meet the PA Life team on stand J600 – and be sure to pick up a special treat courtesy of our friends at Custom Cookie Company.

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      Molly Dyson

      Former Editor – PA Life

      All stories by: Molly Dyson