Kathy Lilley is Triax’s Marketing Events Manager and our construction technology show guru. Ahead of a busy fall industry events schedule, she’s sharing her tips for maximizing your OOO time.
So your boss is telling you to attend a construction trade show…
Trade shows are essential for developing strong business relationships and making face-to-face contact. Construction trade shows are also the most efficient forum to learn about the latest technologies and innovations as well as larger developments or regulations affecting your industry.
It’s important to think ahead and book early! Shows fill up surprisingly quickly, and hotels and flights can be hard to find if you wait until the last minute. Once you register and have the trade show on your calendar, here are my 6 tips for getting the most out of your trade show experience this fall:
- Be strategic: What do you hope to achieve at the show? Visit the event website, look through the agenda, speakers, and programming and list out some goals or takeaways you’d like to leave with. Look at the exhibitor floorplan. Who would you like to see? What cutting-edge tech have you heard about that you want to experience in person? Some of these shows will have hundreds of vendors and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, so plan for visiting the booths most important to you. Oftentimes vendors will have an events email where you can schedule one-on-one time with a rep – I know Triax does!
- Pack wisely: Bring a bag to carry throughout the conference and collect materials just in case the show doesn’t provide one. Wear proper business attire or a company shirt. Exhibit halls or meeting rooms tend to be chilly, so bring layers. Most also tend to have concrete floors, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. These are long days and food & drink opportunities can be limited, so bring a water bottle to fill up and keep hydrated. (Or even better, visit the Triax booth and drop off your business card for a new one!) And don’t forget extra business cards.
- Go digital: Almost every show has an app now, so be sure to download it ahead of time! They will provide the latest schedule as well as maps to navigate the exhibitor halls effectively. They can also be a good source of information for special demos and giveaways.
- Network, network, network: Use this opportunity out of the office to meet others in your industry. If you take the initiative to reach out and engage others, you can promote yourself and your business and make valuable connections. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to others, and make sure your name badge is easily visible.
- Follow-up: Connect with new contacts on LinkedIn and reach out to stay in business touch long after the conference. If you would like additional information from a vendor, or missed any companies on-site, don’t hesitate to reach out after.
- Don’t forget to enjoy the host city where the construction trade show is located! If possible, see if you can arrive early or leave later, so that you can see the city and tour the local attractions. Take advantage of the event-specific excursions and after-hours networking events, which are often held in a well-known location or attraction.
This fall, when we head on the road to the following cities, we’ll be hitting these can’t-miss destinations:
- Chicago for the CLM Construction Conference September 26-28th
- Philadelphia for the NECA Convention September 30th – October 2nd
- Orlando for the Lean Construction Institute the week of October 15th
- Eat your way through the Epcot Food & Wine Festival
- New Orleans for the Design-Build Institute:
- Austin for Procore Groundbreak November 13-15th:
- Las Vegas for Autodesk University November 13-15th:
- Visit Downtown Las Vegas for the Freemont Street Experience or the Mob Museum