Trade shows are a great way to become immersed in the industry you are in, whether it is technology, electronic products, motivation or blogging, all of them require proper preparation – trade show essentials. After years and years of walking the aisles and creating relationships, I’ve devised a list of what to bring and what to wear to make the most of your time!
WHAT TO BRING
Even in this advanced technological world, business cards are a must for networking. Make sure it has your contact phone number, email address, URL for your business (or blog), and any social media handles you’d like to share. I print mine with a matte finish should someone want to write some notes on them (as I do the same to others’)!
Notebook and Pen
You can bring your laptop or tablet in lieu of a notebook and pen, whatever is the best way for you to take notes effectively and efficiently. My favorite pens come in a myriad of colors and are erasable. LOVE them! I usually tote around a notebook as my laptop, although the “Air” version, becomes quite heavy after a long day lugging it around.
If I opt to take my laptop along, I carry it in a backpack so as to evenly distribute the weight on my back.
Some conferences offer meals and/or snacks so check to confirm. I always pack a protein bar or trail mix just in case. I also bring a reusable water bottle to refill as needed. I just pop my S’well bottle in my bag and I’m good to go!
You may laugh at this one, but I like to have smooth, moisturized hands, especially if I am going to be shaking others’. Think about it…would you want to shake someone’s hand and it’s all rough and yucky? My favorite is Aveda’s Hand Relief, but any lotion that has shea butter and not any form of drying alcohol in it, is good.
You are probably going to be shaking a lot of hands. A lot. Oh, and also touching door handles and other things that have been touched by hundreds, if not thousands. Instead of washing your hands each and every time, opt for a hand sanitizer that doesn’t contain drying alcohols. I’m a fan of Purell’s foam hand sanitizer.
WHAT TO WEAR
The particular conference you have signed up for will generally dictate what you are going to wear that day. For a business related conference, I would recommend nice dress pants or a skirt with a sweater or button down, or a cute shift dress. For more casual conferences you can opt for dark denim jeans and a cute top. The best way to determine? Check the conference’s website for past years’ pictures and see what the attendees wore.
I know heels are awesome and make you look oh-so-fabulous, but I recommend flats or comfortable wedges – especially if your conference includes a trade show floor. Your feet will thank you at the end of the day.
Sweater, Cardigan, Wrap
Conferences are notoriously known for being cold, sometimes to the point of frigid. I don’t know if it is because the speeches are log and they want to keep you up, or if there are so many people at these events that they fear the combined body heat would raise the temperature of the room (which both scenarios are totally possible). Blanket scarves are perfect for these types of events!
What are your essentials when you go to trade shows? I’d love to know!