“The most important asset in your business or career is you The International LCT Show 2008 is just around the corner and these days it’s all about networking. People are coming in droves this year, as they have in the past, to speak with the movers and shakers, to try and find new affiliates, and to find out who is buying companies and who is selling.
With the majority of LCT’s readers fixated on our big show next month, I would like to use this forum to offer advice on how to best use your time at the show so you leave having accomplished measurable goals.
The most important asset in your business or career is you. As such, you need to continually ensure that YOU increase in value. One of the best ways to improve your worth is through increased knowledge. Trade shows are showcases of knowledge — everywhere you look, there are opportunities to learn. Shows are also a great place to showcase yourself. The three best ways to take advantage of these opportunities are:
• Working the floor, seeing who is there, and what is on exhibit. You’ll come away from the show with a full understanding of who does what in manufacturing or service and what the latest trends and products are.
• Signing up for seminars. The show’s conferences will feature leading industry speakers on all aspects of the business. Be sure to include one or more conference programs in your agenda. Make it a point to introduce yourself to the speaker and ask for a business card.
• Networking. Knowledge gained from meeting colleagues away from the office is invaluable. It’s not only a great way to catch up with who’s doing what, but it also offers the chance to network in a more informal atmosphere.
Another key to increasing the value of your most important asset — you — is improving your visibility. No one can know about you if you don’t put yourself in the spotlight, but you must be prepared. Ask yourself, who do you want to see? Who do you want to see you? (There is a difference.) Try to schedule a meeting with these people in advance.
Here are a few more show tips to help you maximize your attendance dollar:
• Always carry your business cards and company literature with you when walking the exhibit floor. You never know who you may bump into.
• When attending a seminar, go to the room early and stay late. Be sure to meet the speaker and engage in conversation. Ask if you can follow up with him or her after the show.
• Bring along a camera. If you meet someone important, have someone take a picture of the two of you. This could be a real door opener for you.
• Be sure to stop at LCT Magazine’s booth. Introduce yourself and your company. Share your opinion of the show and its programs. Volunteer to be quoted, and have a photo taken of you working the show.
• Keep good notes throughout the show. When you return home, write a summary of what you saw and learned, and include copies of business cards and photos. Note any insightful information you acquired about competitors or trends. Distribute copies of your summary to associates who didn’t attend the show.
• Write a personal press release to send to clients, announcing that you attended the ILCT Show and describe what you learned. It’s a good way to reconnect, letting clients know what you are doing and that you are serious about your work. If you were a speaker or received an award, include this in your press release.
The most important thing you should come away from the show with is contacts! Network, network, network. Capitalize on the opportunities the show presents to improve your business and your visibility.
ONE FINAL TIP: Above all, have fun!