(Time to read this Blog article is about 1minute)

I’ve spoken at 1,000s of Trade Shows and Management Conference over the past 20 years and what I’ve noticed is that most folks attend these events, at considerable expense, without a specific List of what they want or need to accomplish.  They mostly just wander around in the faint hope that something important and useful will leap out and stick to them. 

So, here’s my suggestion.  Be much more intentional.  Never attend a Trade Show or Business Conference without a List.  A few weeks before the event, sit down and make a List of 4 or 5 things that you need to do better in your business. 

Then, phone the folks organizing the event, or check with a few sharp industry suppliers, and ask them who might be attending the event, who doesn’t compete directly with you, that has absolutely ‘nailed’ one of the specific areas of management, technology, customer value, marketing, staffing, inventory control, margin improvement, etc with which you need help.

Next, phone or email those folks, tell them that you’ve been informed by person X that they’ve done amazing things in the area of XXXX.  Ask them if you could meet them at the event, buy them a beer, lunch or a milk shake and have just 20 minutes of their time to ask a few specific questions about how they went about getting so good at XXXX.  

Show up with 3 or 4 specific questions and be respectful of their time.  Often folks will give you much more time and insight than you asked for because they’re kind, passionate and flattered by your interest and respect.

Finally, send a follow-up ‘thank you’ and offer to be helpful to them when the opportunity comes up. 

These few steps will dramatically change the value that you take home from any Trade Show or Management Conference.  Be intentional. 

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