You came, you saw, you networked. You collected business cards and watched product demonstrations; maybe you were even one of the lucky ones to come home with a raffle prize. You conquered the trade show. Now what?
We gave you the pre-show and during the show tips – but it all comes down to what you take home with you that makes a trade show worth the expense (and we’re not talking tchotchkes, either). So here are our five tips on what to do after the jet-lag has worn off.
Don’t let that bag of business cards, pens, notepads, t-shirts, water bottles, and…tattoos? clutter your office for weeks on end. Keep what you need, offer up extras to co-workers, or bring them home for your kids. (It’s amazing what branded stress ball a will do to keep a 6-year old entertained for a couple hours.)
With your boss, your staff, or just by yourself. Evaluate the show to determine if it was cost-effective. What was the quality of vendors? Were the speakers informed and experts in their field? Were the topics timely? Was the price excessive or reasonable? How were the accommodations? Compare the show to other shows you’ve attended.
3. Create an action list.
Organize your notes and type them out if they’re handwritten. Separate into logical categories (by topic or industry is typically the most helpful as opposed to by class or vendor). Separate any business cards you collected into “call,” “keep,” and “discard.” Using this information, create an action list of vendors to call, topics to research, and tactics to implement – now and into the future. Keep notes in a place where you will go back to them, particularly for long-term action items.
Many employees have to present what they learned to their department or senior staff. Even if you don’t, it’s a good idea to share some of the overarching concepts or tactics you plan to implement, because (a) you’ll probably need help implementing them and (b) if you’re bringing something to the table, it’ll be easier to justify attending a future trade show.
5. Get back to work.
Even if you did check your email or voicemail while you were away, you most likely have a full inbox and some housecleaning to take care of. Prioritize your task list and get back on track as quickly as possible – diving right in is the best way to rid any stress from being out of the office for a few days.