The Event Planner Expo is an excellent opportunity to network, make connections, become acquainted with the latest trends and products, and make yourself better known in the industry. However it can be an overwhelming event with thousands of people to interact with and hundreds of booths to view. That’s why it is important to have a strategy before you arrive so that you can get the most out of your time there
Determine Your Goals
The first thing you should do is determine what your goals are for the expo. What is it that you are trying to achieve? Maybe you are looking to find partners in the industry, or make connections with related professionals. Or you might be looking for new products, venues, and services. In some cases your attendance might be an attempt to make yourself more recognizable to insiders. Once you figure out what your goals are you can direct your actions towards attaining them.
One thing that is true whatever you are trying to achieve, is that you want to bring a ton of business cards with you. That will allow you to hand them out to anyone that you meet. Thousands of people attend the Event Planner Expo, and it can be difficult to remember names, companies, products and titles. Something as simple as a business card will help industry professionals and potential customers to remember you long after the show has ended.
A wide variety of companies exhibit at the expo, including caterers, restaurants, venues, marketing firms, and transportation providers. When you attend, it is important that you give every single booth at least a cursory glance. While there will inevitably be some displays that you will spend more time at, you want to make sure that you don’t miss any diamonds in the rough by skipping over a booth from an unfamiliar business.
During the show there will be numerous opportunities to network with a variety of event planning insiders. You should take full advantage of this, building relationships with as many different people as you can in order to cement your own position in the industry. The VIP lounge is a great place to do that, as it provides a relaxed atmosphere where you can interact with some of the top event planning executives in the field.
Dress To Impress
When attending an industry event like this your appearance matters. Your clothing doesn’t have to be highly formal, but it should be clean, stylish, and have a polished edge that conveys a sense of seriousness. You may also want to get a haircut and handle basic grooming necessities before attending. The idea is to show everyone that you are a professional that is ready to do real business.
Get There Early
The Event Planner Expo is a five hour event, but you still want to make sure that you get there as early as possible. You never know who you are going to meet, or what you are going to see, and there are so many different booths and networking opportunities that many people find that five hours isn’t enough time for everything. Arriving right at the beginning, or even a little before, will also give you an opportunity to take ownership of the space and get comfortable in the environment before it fills up with people.
Keep Organized Notes
As you progress through the show it will be helpful to take notes, jotting down anything interesting that you see, or ideas that you get as you view the booths and interact with people. Something as simple as a pen and notepad can work, although there are more technical options these days including smart phones and tablets. With digital devices that have a camera, you can take snapshots of business cards that you receive and then cross reference them with any information you type down.
Your success at the Event Planning Expo will be determined by the results that you achieve after it is over. If you want the professional relationships that you form at the show to turn into collaborative partnerships then you will have to do the work of following up. A folder full of business cards is worthless unless you use them to reach out to people that you met there, in order to continue the discussion and figure out how best to help one another. A diligent schedule of placing phone calls and sending emails in the weeks after the event will allow you to get the most out of the experience.