October '21

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58 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2021 SPECIAL REPORT: TRADE SHOWS SPECIAL REPORT: TRADE SHOWS up and pursuing individual goals. Don't walk the show in a pack. 3 TIP Debrief Coworkers When the show's over, have attendees share their experiences with their coworkers. What were their impressions of the show? What did they learn from exhibitors about new prod- ucts? How about from seminar speakers and colleagues regarding critical industry trends? "Set a date and time for a follow-up meeting before you go to the show to make sure the job gets done," says Meridith Elliott Powell, a sales and leadership strategist based in Asheville, North Carolina (meridithel- "Decide in advance how the meeting will be structured and how you will debrief. It's important to tell not only what happened, but also to share your leads. Who did you talk to? What did you discuss? What will the next steps be? What topics were of interest to you?" When talking about vendors and their offerings, says Powell, it's important to go beyond a list of new goods and services, and explain how purchases will integrate into your current structure. What will it take to earn back your investment? Encourage attendees to present their find- ings in a way that engages their colleagues. That means more than just standing and reading their notes. "One approach is to present findings in the form of a quiz," says Heiman. "Or engage the audience by repeatedly asking for ideas on how what has been learned from the show can be applied to current operations." If the show has been particularly exten- sive, avoid overwhelming the audience with too much material. "Consider having each attendee pick two or three vital insights discovered at the show, then do a deep dive into each one—perhaps doing additional research on the topic before the presenta- tion," says Heiman. Bonus tip: Schedule the follow-up meeting within 48 hours of returning from the show, while memories are still fresh. 4 TIP Review Performance Good trade show follow-through includes reflections on how well the attendees utilized their time, and how they might improve their tech- niques the next time around. When the show's over, have attendees share their experiences with their coworkers. Each person attending the show should plan in advance to take the right steps after returning.

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