Attending a Trade Show or Conference: How to Represent Your Company

    Trade shows and conferences are an excellent way to showcase your company and network with others. It is important to know how to represent your company if you are looking to gain the right connections. Before anything, choose the right trade show or conference. Research and see which is best for your target audience and register right away. There is a limited amount of space in the venues which often fill up quickly and you unfortunately can’t represent your company if you’re not there.

    Dress to Impress: For most conferences, business casual is appropriate. However, it might be a good idea to check the specific conference or trade show to confirm the attire. Make sure your hair is done and your suits are pressed. A few wrinkles may seem like no big deal, but not looking professional can lose you a client. Also, remember that you will be on your feet all day, so wear your most comfortable dress shoes or heels. You certainly don't want to look fatigued or in pain when talking to potential business partners or clients.

    Be Prepared: There is nothing worse than talking to someone at a conference or trade show who doesn't have all their facts straight for a company they supposedly work for. Therefore, before getting to the venue, make sure you know all the vital information about your company and the products or services your company provides. Your immediate knowledge about all aspects of your company will impress people and make them want to work with you. You will also want to carry business cards and informative brochures. By the end of the event, everyone will have talked to hundreds of people and having that extra business card or brochure will set you apart from the rest.

    Don't be Shy: Waiting for someone to go up to you and ask you questions can cause you to miss out on making many important connections. If you spot a person available to talk, take your chance. After all, everyone is there for a reason. With that being said, it is very important to be personable and friendly. Talking to someone who sounds as if they are reading a script or as if they don't want to be there is quite discouraging. Remember to smile and act enthused. If you're excited about your company, others will be too.

    Take Notes and Follow up: If someone gives you a business card, remember a few of the things you spoke with them about and write it down. Contact them after the conference in a timely manner. If you wait a few months, they may have already decided to work with your competitor. When you do so, use the notes you took. It will show that you value them and are truly interested.

    How do you represent your company at a conference or trade show? Know of any dos and don'ts for trade shows or conferences?  Share your thoughts in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.