Should you attend that exhibition?

Next Thursday (9 May), the Herefordshire Means Business Expo will take place at the Three Counties Hotel in Hereford. It’s the only event of its kind in the county and offers a great networking opportunity as well as the chance of some CPD – all for free! If you like, you can also choose to exhibit for a modest fee.

I’ve supported the event since it first started, and have always found it valuable. Since I set up my own business in January, I find events like this particularly good for connecting with other people similar to me. Otherwise, it’s so easy to become isolated.

Regardless of my employment status, and of whether I’m an exhibitor or a visitor, I always try and follow some golden rules when deciding whether or not to attend any event.

Golden rules for attending

Firstly, is the event targeted at people you want to talk to? Sounds obvious, but there’s no point going to an exhibition targeted at small businesses if you’re looking for multi-million pound clients.

Secondly, make sure you are clear about your objectives in attending (either as an exhibitor or visitor). Do you want to generate leads, do business or simply raise awareness among your target audience? Setting SMART objectives will enable you to measure the success or otherwise of attendance when the event is over.

If you are exhibiting, invest some money in ensuring your stand is attractive and appealing. Make sure visitors can see at a glance what you do. Don’t eat or drink on the stand and avoid looking at your phone when there are people about. Exhibition days can be long and – let’s face it – sometimes a bit boring. But you should always appear warm and welcoming however tired you are. It goes without saying that all stand staff should be able to answer any questions about the business accurately and professionally.

My personal bugbears!

Having exhibited at many events, one of my bugbears is exhibitors who dismantle their stand before the event is over. Once one exhibitor starts, you can be sure it’ll start a tsunami of others. Before you know it, the place is devastated. You never know who may pop in later in the day; the event’s not over til it’s over, so keep going until the end.

One of my other bugbears as an exhibitor is those visitors who just come in to sell their own wares. If you are in this category, please have the courtesy to ask exhibitors about the services or products they offer before launching into your own sales pitch. After all, without the exhibitors’ fees, the event couldn’t go ahead. Please show some respect.

It would be good to meet you!

I will be visiting next Thursday and helping to ‘man’ the Hereford Business Referrals stand (from 1.00 – 2.00 pm). If you’re there, do come over and say hello. If you’re not able to attend but want to know more about my services, please get in touch.

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