Networking: Making your connections count, one handshake at a time

Posted September 20, 2023 by Alison Conklin

Trade shows are more than just opportunities to showcase your brand and products; they’re prime occasions for networking and building valuable connections. In the bustling environment of a trade show, the art of networking can be the key to unlocking doors of opportunity and fostering lasting relationships. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you master the art of networking at trade shows, one handshake at a time.

Set Clear Networking Goals

As simple as it sounds, before you step onto the trade show floor, define your networking goals. Are you looking to find potential customers, partners or collaborators? Setting clear goals will guide your interactions and help you stay focused amid the busy atmosphere. 

Approach with Authenticity

The key to successful networking lies in authenticity. Approach conversations with a genuine interest in the other person’s needs and challenges. Avoid robotic sales pitches and instead foster engaging discussions by asking open-ended questions. Listen actively and show empathy to establish a connection that goes beyond business transactions.

Prepare an Elevator Pitch

As you know as an attendee or exhibitor, trade show time is money. Craft an elevator pitch that encapsulates your brand’s essence and unique offerings. Aim to be concise yet compelling, leaving a lasting impression on the listener. 

Collect and Exchange Business Cards

In this digital age, business cards remain a powerful networking tool. Carry plenty of cards with you, and when exchanging them, take a moment to jot down a personal note on the back, highlighting the key points of your conversation. Or, try one of these digital business card scanner apps.

Attend Networking Events for Face-to-Face 

Many trade shows host networking events, such as cocktail hours or meet-and-greets. These gatherings provide excellent opportunities to network in a more relaxed setting. Attend these events and use them to build rapport with fellow attendees and exhibitors. Networking events are also a great time to schedule meetings with people who may not have time to spare during normal trade show hours without coordinating going somewhere offsite.

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow up!!

After the trade show ends, the real work of networking begins. Follow up promptly with the connections you made, sending personalized thank-you emails that reference your conversation (Don’t BCC those emails!). Continue nurturing these relationships by providing value through industry insights, resources or collaborative opportunities. 

Did you know Brightly Creative loves trade shows? We offer services from walking trade show floors as part of direct outreach or exhibiting for your company to capture meaningful leads. We also design booths, write collateral pieces, plan travel accommodations and more. Email us today about our trade show services!

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