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Trade Show Networking Tips By Scott Ingram

Trade shows are a great place to network. People are there to meet other people, and learn about who’s doing what. These 6 tips will help you maximize the networking opportunities at any trade show.

1. Meet the exhibitors

The exhibitors at any trade show paid to be able to talk to you. Make an effort to visit as many vendors as you can. Learn about them and what they have to offer. You might also ask who their target market is, or who their ideal client is.

2. Make it fun!

Consider making a game out of your networking efforts. Try to meet at least one new person every 10-15 minutes. That’ll give you enough time to spend 5 or 10 minutes getting to know them. You’ll also have a few minutes left over to meet your next new friend.

3. Listen

When you’re meeting new people listen more than you talk. Try to find a common interest. Ask them about their business and their personal interests. This information will come in handy later when you follow-up.

4. Give people value, be a resource

Be listening for ways that you can help people. Direct them to the exhibitor you met earlier who might have a great solution for them. Tell them about the great drawing you just entered, and suggest that they do the same. Offer to introduce them to someone else you know at the event who you think they might be able to make a good connection with.

5. Use business cards

Business cards are a tool. After you meet someone be sure to ask them for a business card. Take a couple of seconds to make a couple of notes about what you learned about them. Before handing someone your own business card you might want to write a quick note that will add value.

Write the name of a website they might find useful (NetworkInAustin.com perhaps?), a book, another networking event. Anything that will make your card stand out, because you’ve show that you’re a valuable resource.

6. Follow-up

This is probably the most important tip of all. Your networking efforts at any networking event are unlikely to bear any fruit if you don’t take the time to follow-up with those you met. Be sure to make at least one, preferably two, contacts during the week following the show, with each person you met.

A hand written note and a voicemail. A brief phone conversation and an e-mail. Just be sure to reconnect so you can truly begin building a relationship.

Happy networking!
Scott Ingram is the founder of etworkInAustin.com a networking resource for networkers in Central Texas. He also posts regularly to his Business Networking Blog where you’ll learn more about Scott as well as how to become a better networker. When he’s not out building relationships at trade shows and other business networking events you’ll find Scott out running with friends on the trails of Town Lake in Austin, Texas or spending time with his growing family which currently consists of 2 cats and dog and his expecting wife Emily.