By Maura Nicolaita
Filmmakers and professionals attending tradeshows can benefit from both the content and the contacts made, giving them the opportunity to gain knowledge and connect with other peers. To maximize engagement, it is important to have a plan and go into the show with a specific goal in mind.
Here are four strategies you can use to get the most out of tradeshows.
Learn the Layout
Before arriving at the show, research all that is available. This includes looking over the exhibitor list, attending networking sessions, and familiarizing yourself with the event layout. Create a personalized itinerary to make sure you don’t miss out on any exhibitors or activities; this will save you time and energy and will help you stay on track throughout the event. Additionally, research the different exhibitors who will be present. Make sure to look over the list of new companies and those who have attended before. Read up on their successes, technologies, and products to further establish their credibility. Research the speakers and panels that will be occurring throughout the show. Read up on their expertise and life stories in order to make the most of each presentation. Research the different activities, such as contests, and team-building exercises, which can be valuable learning experiences.
Know Your Goal
Figure out your main goal and focus your energy on achieving it. If your goal is to find a new partner, spend more time meeting with exhibitors who could fit that description. Having a plan in mind will help you make the most of the show, rather than wasting your time on activities that don’t contribute to your goal. For example, if your goal is to expand your customer reach, focus more on networking and attending seminars and classes related to marketing and sales. If your goal is to meet industry experts and build connections, make sure you attend speaker panels and try to arrange meetings with the speakers. You could also try to introduce yourself to the vendors you’re interested in, rather than just grabbing their business cards. However, if your goal is to increase your knowledge and gain new insights, try to attend workshops and activities where you can learn something new. By setting a goal and allocating your energy accordingly, you can make the most of the show and come away with tangible results.
Tradeshows provide a great opportunity to make contacts, so be sure to use your time wisely and make the most of each meeting. Try to keep conversations brief yet personal, understanding that each person is there for similar reasons. Take note of the new contacts you make, and be prepared to keep in touch. Tradeshows provide a great opportunity to make important professional connections. Attendees can network face-to-face with potential business contacts, customers, and even vendors, who may provide valuable input on products or services. Whether it’s striking up a conversation with the people in the booth next to you, or setting up formal meetings ahead of time, it’s important to use your time wisely in order to get the most out of each interaction. Make sure to keep conversations brief yet relevant and be prepared to exchange contact information. This way, it will be easier to follow up and create a lasting connection. And don’t forget to bring business cards. They can go a long way in keeping track of the new contacts you make at the show.
Events can be quite long and exhausting, so it’s important to take time to relax and enjoy this experience! Consider attending a party or activity related to the event, even if the invite sounds random or unimportant. You never know who or what you might find! For example, if you’re attending a conference for filmmakers, take some time to grab lunch with a fellow filmmaker and hear about their life. Or if you’re at a tech event, try attending the nightly happy hour to network and exchange ideas. Networking events can also help you make connections and even potential business leads.
Don’t be afraid to engage with people you find interesting. It’s a great way to build relationships and create lasting memories. Allow yourself a few moments of relaxation and fun within the duration of the event. Take breaks between sessions to stretch and walk around the area; try out a portion of a recommended local cuisine; or spend time outdoors in the sun.
These four simple tips can help you maximize engagement at tradeshows. It will give you a better chance of making significant connections and learning more about the industry in a relatively short time. Don’t forget to have fun at your next event. Even if it feels like a full workday, Reward yourself with moments of rest and relaxation. Based on the event and your schedule, you could even plan a mini-adventure for yourself!