Making the Most Out of Networking at a Business Show
Trade shows, especially business-to-business trade shows, are a great place to meet people and network. While many people attend trade shows only as a way of generating more revenue, it’s important to look at an event as a way of providing other people and companies with the right resources, including financial, educational, creative, and social. We suggest a three-pronged approach that will help you make the most out of Pittsburgh business shows.
Networking Tips for Professionals at Trade Shows
- Take some time to sit down and discover more about your fellow attendees. Many business shows will publish a list of vendors, speakers, and sponsors, along with their company and product information. Find at least 30 that interest you professionally and personally. Maybe a company that you wouldn’t be interested in for your business needs does something that you’d love to do with your own company, such as being an invested charity partner, or showing that they’re a branding expert. You can learn something from nearly everyone, so advance planning will provide you with a way to determine who you should talk to during the show. If you believe that you need to meet someone during the show, contact them to see if you can chat over coffee.
- Tailor your approach to each attendee. This isn’t the time to make a 30-second elevator speech. Since you’ve done your homework, you’re going to know something about the person who you’re talking to. Think about what their business does—if they’ve introduced new products, launched a new service, added to staff, or been featured in local media. You should be able to determine what kind of approach you should make. Consider asking these questions:
- So, what does your business do? What is your target customer?
- What’s been the best part of your business this year?
- What’s been a challenge for you this year?
- What are the bright spots for this year?
- What will you be concentrating on in the next 12 and 24 months?
- What is your five-year plan?
- What other trade shows will you be attending?
- Attend the breakout sessions and speaker presentations. First, you’ll gain valuable information about industry trends and be able to see how other businesses tackle challenges. Second, you can make a great impression by asking well-considered, focused questions. Not only will you be able to pick the brain of the presenters, the other attendees will notice that you’ve asked excellent questions and may find you after the presentation to chat. Also, be sure to ask follow-up questions either in person or through email if you’d like to get more information from the speakers.
Pittsburgh Networking Events in 2017
The Pittsburgh Business Show is a business-to-business expo that will take place on April 19 and 20, 2017 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh. Interested businesses can log in to the PBS website at https://www.pittsburghbusinessshow.com to find out more about this great way to network. Those who would like to visit the Show can use the website to download free attendee tickets and to register for events, speakers, and seminars.