Make the Most of Attending an Exhibition

Attending an exhibition is much like attending a job interview or networking event where preparation could be key to maximising the benefits.

Highland Spotlight Business to Business Exhibition on the 25th September will serve as an ideal opportunity to network and make new business contacts. There is a varied programme of seminars throughout the day giving you an opportunity to expand your knowledge, as well as the opportunity to meet around 550 business men and woman, sell your products and find suppliers who can offer you a great local service. To ensure you make the most of your attendance at Highland Spotlight you can do just a few key things to walk away with more than a bag of goodies or raffle prize.

Before the event
Your preparation for attending an exhibition begins when you pre-register your attendance, this is great preparation meaning on the day you can pick up your name badge and walk straight in.

Now is the time to tell your own network that you’ll be attending – make sure you use the event # (#HighlandBizWk or #HighlandSpotlight) and tag the organisers (@HighlandBizWk or @InvernessChambr) as this will ensure it is retweeted and seen by anybody exhibiting or visiting that’s not already in your network.

Take a look at the published list of exhibitors, this will help you to identify key targets at the event, research the companies and identify a few who might benefit from your products or services – even if a company doesn’t look like they might be a buyer consider how access to their network of contacts may be beneficial to your business.

In the lead up to the event keep an eye out for event updates. As well as helping you to understand the best time of day to attend (you may wish to avoid the lunchtime rush, which may hamper meaningful conversations) you can decide if any seminars interest you and book in advance. Make sure you interact with other visitors, exhibitors and the event organisers on social media

Come armed with plenty of business cards and flyers/catalogues that you may wish to hand out to any contacts made on the day – last year Highland Spotlight saw 550 people taking part across the whole day, so a handful of business cards in your wallet will soon disappear.  
Why not take this opportunity to print something special or offer a discount to people who sign up with you on the day.

Check out photos from the previous events

Download the floor plan to help you navigate the various key stands you wish to visit.

On the day
Some people spend the whole day dipping in and out, attending seminars or arranging meetings on site. If the venue offers WIFI treat it as a satellite office and get some work done. Once you’ve identified when you will attend, figure out how to get there.

Is car parking likely to be limited at the venue? Can you walk from the city centre or park nearby? At Kingsmills Hotel where Highland Spotlight will take place, you can park in the nearby Inverness Golf Club or Fraser Park Bowling Club.

At the registration desk, you will be offered a show guide in your already overflowing goody bag. This includes the full list of exhibitors (with any last minute changes) and a map. Get your bearings and do a walk around, take your time speaking to every stand listen to the businesses and get an understanding of what they do. Take part in the games - it can be daunting to approach a stand, but making the first move can result in a great interaction. The person managing the stand might be just as nervous as you and dying to speak to speak to somebody. They paid to be there so that they could promote their offering and hear about yours.

Put your business card in all the fishbowls! Yes, it means you will be signed up to a plethora of newsletters but once you’ve seen each offering, you can unsubscribe if it’s early not helpful to you or your customers.
Share regular updates on social media, take pictures and share to get on the tweetwall leaderboard.

Network, not just with the exhibitors but if you see visitors milling about why not introduce yourself.

After the event
Follow up! It’s so important to ensure that a contact made is not wasted. Technology makes it easy – add them on LinkedIn, follow their company on facebook or twitter and if a contact seemed valuable and you got their business card why not email them to arrange a follow-up meeting.

Found the event valuable? Please complete the survey, – it benefits the organisers, and improves the event in future years.