15 Years of Tradeshows: A Couple of Simple Notes

I've been attending tradeshows (from mind-meltingly packed to the more easy-goingly small) for 15+ years so I've collected a couple of thoughts on attending.

Concrete Contractor January/February 2023 Editor's Letter
Adobe Stock Images | By somchaij

It's January, which means it's a new year - which means it's a new season for tradeshows, conferences, and expos. As we all return to Las Vegas, there are a few lessons learned from walking tradeshow floors for the past 15+ years. 

Note: These thoughts are on attending not exhibiting. "Exhibiting" is a whole different can of beans. 

Searching online for quick lessons for tradeshow attendees results in some fairly decent general advice. At top of the list of many of these is planning. I've tried "winging it" a couple of times; trust me, it doesn't work well. Check out the schedule and use whatever tools that you know are going to be effective for you. I've written my days out in notebooks and attempted to rely on Outlook to alert me of my next appointment. I don't recommend being solely reliant on this second option. Service is too spotty and popping out your phone mid-conversation is just awkward. Download the World of Concrete app, if anything having a map in your pocket can be handy.

Speaking of maps, part of a successful expo walkabout is direction. Before you go, ask yourself what you are looking for. Ask your team about inefficiencies or problems. Have a short list of brands that you want to visit and bring your questions. See if you can reserve a spot for a more personal conversation with a representative, though this might need to be done ahead of time to get on the schedule. 

Remember to flip that coin on your busy schedule. Slow down. Leave time to wander the aisles and visit booths that catch your eye. Stop by the association and institution booths to chat. Watch a demo. Go back to that schedule and sign up for a seminar or two, or ten. On that note, check out the evening events to catch up with old friends or make a couple new ones. 

You'll be walking a lot so wear comfortable shoes. Bring two if you can and switch every other day. 

Finally, and I think my most important point - if you have one, recharge or replace your watch's battery.

As you read this, I'll probably be walking the World of Concrete 2023 floor. If you find me, let's talk. Grab my attention and let me know what issues are on your mind and what answers you're looking for. Not at the show? My inbox is open, [email protected]

It's Vegas, so, good luck and stay safe.

Thank you.