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How to Get the Most Out of Trade Show Attendance
Since this magazine was created by the company that puts on one of the great series of trade shows in the industry, the Decorated Aparel Expos or DAX Shows, the topic of trade show attendance seemed appropriate for this blog. While those of us who work for EnMart primarily attend trade shows as vendors these days, we also know how valuable attending a trade show can be for those who own a decorating business. Whether you're an industry veteran or someone who is just starting out, you can find a great deal of valuable knowledge and make many helpful connections when you attend a show. If your goal is to get the most out of every show you attend, which is as it should be, here are some tips that will help you accomplish your goal.
Tip 1: Have an objective - The first thing you need to do is figure out what you hope to get from the show which you are attending. Are you looking for new equipment? Do you want to source suppliers for a particular supply you use often? Are you hoping to learn about a new decorating techinique? Is your goal to connect with others in the industry? Knowing what you want to achieve at the show will stop you from wandering around aimlessly and perhaps missing a booth or seminar or contact that could have been very helpful.
Tip 2: Make a plan - One you know what your objective or objectives are for the show, it's time to make a plan. Most shows will have a list of vendors and a floor plan online. Vendor listings will generally include more information about what a vendor will be showcasing at the show, as well as their booth number. Sit down with the vendor listings and a floor plan and plan your route through the show. Highlight booths you want to be sure to visit. You might even contact vendors to set appointments. Your goal is to plan a route through the show that meets your objectives and maximizes the use of your time. If you have something you particularly want to accomplish, make sure to get that task out of the way first thing after you arrive, so you're fresh. If you want to comparison shop, make sure you allow time to visit all the vendors who carry the item you wish to purchase, and leave yourself enough time to go over the information you've gathered and make a decision.
Tip 3: Never neglect the seminars - Education is important, and trade shows are one of the great venues for improving your skills or learning something new. Make sure that you always check out the paid and the free seminar tracks, and that you take advantage of what's offered. Seminars are a great way to improve skills you already have or to explore a decoration discipline you're interested in adding to your product offerings. Many shows also ask industry experts to speak, so you'll be gaining the benefit of years of industry experience.
Tip 4: Dress for Success - Wear comfortable shoes, you'll be walking a lot. Dress in layers, the overall temperature of the venue may be cool, but booths with heatpresses or large machines may be much warmer. If you plan to collect samples or brochures or to buy product, make sure you have the appropriate methods available to carry whatever you pick up. If the venue allows beverages, stock up on water. Think about what will make your day the most comfortable and the information you gather easiest to manage and do or bring those things. Your trade show experience will be much better for the advance planning.
*All ideas expressed in this post are the exclusively those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the policies or opinions of Decorated Apparel Magazine. The author represents that he or she is exclusively responsible for the content contained, and that he or she is the owner of any intellectual property used or expressed, and has the right to publish any statements or images contained herein. All content is offered 'as-is' and Decorated Apparel Magazine does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any statements contained in this or any other post. Your use of any advice or statements of fact or opinion offered are completely at your own risk.