Cat All Day TIME WELL SPENT: GETTING THE MOST FROM A TRADE SHOW - Cat All Day
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TIME WELL SPENT: GETTING THE MOST FROM A TRADE SHOW

2017 is another big year for trade shows. Whether you attend CONEXPO-CON/AGG or some other equipment exposition, you’ll invest time, energy and money in the experience. Here are six tips for maximizing the value of that investment.

1. Set goals. Take time before the show to think about what you must accomplish—the products you need to see, the people you should meet, the conversations you’d like to have. Be specific about your intentions and document them so you can hold yourself accountable.

2. Work your plan. Use information from the web or other resources to plan where you’ll focus your energy and attention. Think in terms of “must do” and “nice to do.” Then jot down a schedule—and build some flex into it. Because when does everything go according to plan?

3. Divide and conquer. If you’re attending with co-workers, consider a team strategy. Have everyone visit certain vendors or attend specific events, then gather once a day for a group report. This can be especially helpful when time is short and the show is large.

4. Move out of your comfort zone. A trade show can be a good time to catch up with old friends and check out the latest features on your favorite machines. But if you only spend time with the people and products you already know, you’ll miss opportunities to learn new things. Devote some portion of each day to seeking out the unfamiliar—whether that means meeting a stranger, checking out a new product or considering a new idea.

5. Get smart about technology. At an equipment exposition, the iron tends to take centerstage. It’s easy to spend hours climbing into cabs and talking specs with product experts.  While that’s fun and important, make sure you leave plenty of time for other aspects of the show—especially technology. Challenge yourself to spend as much time with the tech people as you do with the product engineers. The sooner you get comfortable with connectivity, the faster you’ll reap the benefits: higher productivity, lower costs, bigger margins.

6. Use the web. While there’s nothing quite like experiencing a big trade show in person, the web can be a viable alternative. If you can’t leave your business behind—or if you do attend but don’t manage to see it all—be sure to check the websites of participating exhibitors and sponsors. Chances are you’ll find all kinds of info from live-stream broadcasts and videos to podcasts and presentations.