6 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Trade Show

Posted On May 25, 2017 By Protolabs

As you add to your calendar the various trade shows you’ll be attending in 2016, we offer you this list of a half-dozen quick tips for making the most of those shows.

Check your email; free is good. For many trade shows, you can get a free exhibit hall or expo pass from various companies exhibiting at the show. Watch for emails ahead of the shows with promo codes for these passes from vendors. (See Protolabs’ code list below).

Protolabs trade show booth
Protolabs' staff member, Jeff Schipper, discusses rapid manufacturing at LightFair 2015.

Plan ahead. For large trade shows, look at the event’s website ahead of time to scope out the show’s floor plan, check the exhibitor list and review specific program-track lineups. Some shows are massive, so this advance prep will make your time at these shows more efficient and productive.

Ask away. When visiting vendor booths or attending programs, feel free to ask anything. It may sound cliché, but there’s really no such thing as a silly question. Trade shows are all about learning and the best way to learn is to ask. Plus, some vendors, including Protolabs, will have engineers staffing their booths, so make the most of these resources.

Take advantage of networking — everywhere. Trade shows are excellent places for organic networking opportunities that occur everywhere — the exhibit hall, coffee break sessions, the hallway outside conference rooms, your hotel’s lobby or bar, well, you get the idea.

Bring business cards. Speaking of networking, don’t forget to bring along business cards, and don’t be shy about getting your show badge scanned at vendor booths you visit. This is also a form of networking that can be valuable.

Pack comfortable footwear. You’ll be walking and standing a lot at trade shows. Plan your footwear accordingly.