31 May, 2024

Networking Strategies at Exhibitions


Trade shows are fantastic for getting your brand out there and can boost recognition by an impressive 76%!* And when it comes to making the most of them, networking is key. It's all about showing off what your company knows and establishing yourself as a big player in the industry.

Ready to nail your next trade show? Check out our top networking tips to leave a lasting impression!

How to Network at a Trade Show

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Trade shows bring together industry professionals, decision-makers, and potential clients under one roof, creating an environment perfect for collaboration and connection. Here are 7 factors to consider when networking:

Craft an Elevator Pitch

Your elevator pitch is your ticket to making a memorable first impression. In just a few short sentences you need to convey who you are, what you do, and why you're worth remembering.

Set Clear Objectives

Before you step foot on the trade show floor, take some time to define your networking goals. Are you looking to generate leads, establish partnerships, or learn about industry trends? By setting clear objectives, you can focus your efforts and make the most of your time at the trade show.

Research Exhibitors and Attendees Beforehand

Do your homework. Research the exhibitors and attendees who will be there, and learn as much as you can about them. This will help you identify potential connections and conversation starters, making your networking more focused and effective.

Target Specific Individuals or Companies to Connect With

Instead of trying to network with everyone you meet, focus on specific individuals or companies that align with your goals and interests. Look for opportunities to connect with people who can offer value to your professional journey.

Engage with Attendees

Approachability is key when it comes to networking. Wear a smile, maintain open body language, and be approachable to anyone who crosses your path. Strike up conversations with fellow attendees and exhibitors, and don't be afraid to ask open-ended questions to spark meaningful discussions.

Utilising Social Media

61% of businesses use social media to advertise their participation in an upcoming trade show.* Social media is a powerful tool for networking before, during, and after the trade show, allowing you to connect with attendees and exhibitors on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.

Follow Up

Take the time to follow up with the contacts you've made, whether it's through personalised emails, LinkedIn messages, or even a handwritten message. Linking to specific discussions or topics from the trade show during these interactions can demonstrate your genuine interest in building a meaningful relationship.

Top Networking Tips for Success

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Whether you're a seasoned networker or just getting started, having a clear plan can make all the difference in building meaningful connections. Take a look at our best networking tips:

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    Arrive Early to Beat the Crowds:

    Being there before the rush gives you the chance to connect with others when it's quieter, leading to more focused and meaningful conversations without the hustle and bustle of large crowds.

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    Attend Networking Events and Seminars:

    Take advantage of networking events and seminars often held alongside trade shows or conferences. These provide structured opportunities to meet like-minded professionals and expand your network.

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    Exchange Business Cards/ Merchandise:

    Be proactive in exchanging contact information with people you meet. Business cards are still a valuable networking tool and provide a tangible reminder of your conversation. Make sure to follow up after the event to keep the connection alive.

    If you have the means, consider giving attendees merchandise such as clothing or everyday items. 30% of attendees wear or use the swag they receive at trade shows*, turning them into walking advertisements for your brand.

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    Focus on Building Relationships, Not Just Making Sales:

    Networking is all about building relationships, and the best way to do that is by offering value and solutions to others. Instead of just talking about yourself and your accomplishments, focus on how you can help others solve their problems or achieve their goals. This selfless approach will make you more memorable and respected in the eyes of your peers.

Take your networking to the next level with an effective exhibition stand design. A well-designed booth attracts attention, draws attendees in, and encourages meaningful conversations. It also reinforces brand identity, promotes memorability, and increases the likelihood of follow-up interactions post-event. For more information, get in touch.