Surviving Expo! Expo!

Carol-JohnsonCarol Johnson, Registration/Conference Specialist, National Trade Productions

I’ve only been in the tradeshow industry for about a year and a half and Expo! Expo! in Baltimore was my first opportunity to really get my feet wet at an industry conference. Being around a vast amount of industry professionals can be overwhelming. You can either sink, or put on your tradeshow fins and swim. At an event such as this, it can be very easy to get overlooked as a newbie but IAEE made it a very clear that we were also a priority. From my first impression, which was the First Timers Orientation and the General Session, I felt empowered to create my own journey. Not only at Expo! Expo!, but also in my professional career. I immediately began thinking how can I take advantage of this opportunity and make this most of all of the knowledge I was about to receive. At Expo! Expo! I realized that I have all of the tools that I need to succeed. All that I have to do now is go to work!

I am very thankful for the scholarship that IAEE gave me and the opportunity to experience everything Expo! Expo! had to offer. It means a lot to be a part of an organization that is dedicated to investing in their members. For my fellow newbies, I compiled a short list of survival tips:

  1. For my fashionistas, wear comfortable shoes. Even though I work on very large tradeshows, for some reason all common sense left my brain when I decided to wear heels the day the exhibit hall opened. Bad idea…
  2. Go with a plan: Obviously don’t try and plan every second of the day but check out the exhibitor list and make a plan to see the companies that could benefit your next show. With all the of action that is happening on the show floor, it’s very easy to get distracted. If you go in with a plan, you can easily get yourself back on track.
  3. Forget about your diet: There is so much food and everything is good! Do yourself a favor and let yourself indulge a little. You can work it off when you get back home. 🙂
  4. Divide and Conquer: If you are going with several of your coworkers, discuss what sessions you are all interested in. There will probably be several sessions that you want to attend that are happening at the same time. Compare schedules and then divide and conquer. Just don’t forget to compare notes after the show.
  5. Go to everything: There are several Happy hours, Receptions, Meet and Greets, etc… You may get exhausted just looking at all of the options, but it is worth it to network and socialize with vendors, clients and colleagues in a relaxed setting.
  6. Be Inspired: You will witness several industry awards given to people that are just like you. Use their accomplishments as motivation for your career. The next year it could very well be YOU on that screen.
  7. Brings lots of business cards: Flood your purse, wallet, computer bag, notebook, jacket packet, boots J with business cards. Trust me you can never have enough at Expo! Expo! and you don’t want to be the person trying to jot down emails on pieces of scrap paper.

Good Luck!

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