‘To plan is to succeed’
Are you going to the event with a particular focus? You may be seeking inspiration for content creation or looking for a new product, service or supplier? Make sure that you are planning to satisfy your objectives for going in the first place. Essentially, do your homework on the program in advance.

If there are seminars or speakers of particular interest, plan those in. If there are exhibitors you are looking to connect with, make a list of those you want to talk to and any questions you might have. For those you really want to speak to, why not contact them in advance to make an appointment at the event. Making yourself a plan for the day with times, names and locations will bring focus and hopefully result in ensuring you get the most out of your investment of time.

Be ready to do a lot of walking and talking
Whether you’re chatting with fellow delegates, talking to exhibiting vendors or grabbing a minute with a speaker; you are there to network, so make the most of it! Feeling well prepared should help to banish anxiety and focus your conversations. Exhibition survival equipment should always include comfortable shoes, a notepad, pen, bottle of water and perhaps some sweets (whether minty for breath, sugar for energy or something soothing for the vocal chords)!

Business cards
Some may say these are an antiquated form of detail sharing, however, there is definitely still a place for them. It’s a quick and easy way to pass your contact details to someone without having those ‘give me your number and I’ll phone you’ or ‘just let me find a pen and something to write on’ moments. There are also plenty of exhibitors that invite you to submit your business card ‘for a chance to win’, so to be ‘in it to win it’ take a good supply!

Don’t set and forget
In our busy, fast paced lives, it’s easy to attend an exhibition and tomorrow it be a distant memory. Try and keep a note of who you’ve met, from where and what you’ve discussed alongside their contact details for follow-up (email or LinkedIn connect where appropriate).

Hopefully, you will have noted down some quotable content from the seminars you attended. It’s important to consider where that might be useful. Is there scope to build upon that for either a piece of internal or external comms?

Wherever possible, trying to dedicate time in your schedule the next day for these activities will help you demonstrate the value of your attendance. The follow up should be of equal value to attending, cementing both potentially useful relationships and fresh insight!

Make the most of the opportunity
Exhibitions take a lot of planning, your host will have endeavoured to think of every detail, right down to the coffee mugs. Don’t miss the detail, or the opportunity to feed back to the event organisers (good, bad or ugly!). They want you to enjoy the experience, so it’s only polite to indulge in the hospitality and ensure your event engagement is optimised!