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The Trade Show: How To Survive


Woof. I leave on Sunday afternoon for Sin City, the home of thousands of trade shows annually, for an annual software user conference. I don’t return home until Friday afternoon, and am frankly filled with more dread than excitement. Of course, professional events and trade shows are wonderful opportunities to network, learn, and grow your business. However, one week indoors pumped full of casino air and Marlboro Lights can take its toll, especially when this is your second week-long visit to Las Vegas in 2018. (Shout out to all event marketers, as they make my workload look light)!

I have attended shows for my career at least once for the last five years, so I wanted to pass along three tips to help you have fun (not too much) and keep your sanity as the week treks onward.

  • Know your walk: Some of these convention centers are literally over a mile from the actual lodging accommodations, especially in Las Vegas. If you have several days of making a veritable hike from your room to the expo hall, invest in some professional, albeit comfortable shoes. Further, you will often be assigned to man your booth and greet attendees, typically requiring that you stand at your feet. All the more reason to invest in the Cole Hahn’s - your feet will thank you about 48 hours into the conference.

  • Maximize the time: Many people who attend these shows spend a nice chunk of change, often upwards of $2,000. However I have spoken to many attendees in the past who barely attended any sessions, which begs the question...uh, why? My advice would be to remain as involved as possible and soak up the knowledge. Ask questions, sign up for sessions, and look for chances to draw connections with others. Once the week is over and your boss asks for that event recap, you’ll knock their socks off!

  • Whatever happens in Vegas...does not stay in Vegas: Guys - be mindful. Someone from your firm could always be watching, and contrary to popular belief, you can’t unsay things you said at a trade show after four cocktails. My father told me that a two drink limit for professional soiree is enough, and there is a lot of value in remaining more cognizant than your colleagues throughout parties. While it’s well-known that these shows are often as much about socializing as learning, there must be a balance. As someone who has not taken my Dad’s advice multiple times and had early flights out the next day...TRUST ME. There is nothing worse than a hangover and a middle seat for two hours.... not a good combination.

Well, wish me luck next week, and same to all those readers who are heading to events of any size. Keep your wits about you, learn all you can, and I promise these shows will pay huge dividends!

Come find me at slot bay 6 next week...

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