Networking and Trade Shows

Networking in Business

The most important reasons people exhibit at a trade show?

To see what's new and to gather leads - information for future business.

So, how do you that besides standing in the booth and walking the aisles?

Nuances of Networking

The key is understanding the nuances of networking.

The word is "Networking". It is much more than a buzzword.

Networking is a conscious, planned effort to get the most of quick encounters, in brief time periods, and to develop a lasting mutual relationship.

Concept of Networking

The concept of networking got its start with job searches and headhunting.

Like a spider spinning a web, a job seeker leaves a trail of resumes, going from point to point, tying knots in the process, until the quest (the web) is complete.

In the beginning, your technical skills will be required, but it's your people skills that keep you going.

Business Networking

Technical expertise is important as it puts you on one level, but it's people who raise you up in the business world.

Networking should be of mutual benefit.

What can you offer to raise up the other person?

Provide Advice

At a trade show, position your firm as an expert. Besides meeting people at your exhibit, there are other networking suggestions:

  • Have technical experts in your exhibit at selected times for conferences or to answer questions. Promote this before and during the show.
  • When possible, have your staff participate on panels and as presenters.
  • Make all of your staff experts - Select a trend and be certain everyone is up to speed. Talk about it in every conversation on and off the show floor. Always use your company's name in the conversation - make your firm the trendsetter.
  • Send a report of the show to all contacts made at the show, highlighting the trends and comments visitors made about your company.

Knowledge and Expertise

When you give advice, you are recognised as having superior knowledge and expertise.

When others ask for advice, they are acknowledging that they don't know something.

It may be difficult for people to ask for help.

Part of your networking skill will be to recognise when advice - instruction - information - will be helpful to the person.

It's important not to talk down to or make other people feel uncomfortable, as you provide information.

Establish Rapport

Use simple words and increase your vocabulary as you establish rapport with the visitor.

This is especially critical when introducing new technology products and services that may have new words or language attached to them.

Sometimes, you'll be asked for information you don't have.

Bridge the Gaps

You must determine what you know, what you have and what you need.

If there are gaps, determine what you need to do, who you need to know, in order to bridge those gaps.

Remember, it's OK to say, "I don't know" what asked a question, but it is your responsibility to find the answer and get back to the questioner as soon as possible.

Building the Network

Through your life, you will meet thousands of people.

From a chance encounter on a school bus to the second cousin of your neighbour's best friend, from a mail-order supplier in London to a tennis partner - we are surrounded by contacts.

Some of these people will be critical to your success.

Broaden Your Network

The Internet allows us to broaden our network greatly.

Sometimes luck plays a role in who we meet at the show - you might meet the school bus buddy or the second cousin.

The world is getting both larger and smaller at the same time.

Manage your time and effort to be attuned to those conditions that improve the odds of good luck and serendipity - accidental discovery.

Enjoy your next show.

This article was contributed by Julia O'Connor, Speaker, Author and Consultant who is president of Trade Show Training, inc

Business Networking Skills Training

Impact Factory runs

Open Business Networking Courses

Tailored Business Networking Training

Five Day Communicate With Impact Workshops

and >personalised

One-to-One Executive Coaching

for anyone interested in improving their

Business Networking Skills

Business Networking Skills Training in London

Training Course Accreditation

To ensure that the courses you attend are of the highest quality, offering the best professional tuition possible, all our Open Courses are evaluated and accredited.

This accredited course is suitable for corporate and public sector Continuing Professional Development Plans and Portfolios.

Read about Trainer Accreditation