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Never too late to start blogging?

posted 7 Sep 2011, 05:52 by Christine Tucker   [ updated 7 Sep 2011, 08:11 ]

I visited the Autumn Fair at the NEC in Birmingham at the beginning of the week. Not only is this a great place to see what is new and trending in retail, it is also handy for picking up ideas and information.

Trade fairs are something that we may all go to at some time, whatever the business we are in. My top ten tips, gathered over the past twenty years and still being worked on, for surviving the experience and coming away with useful information and not blisters are:
  1. Read the guide to exhibitors before you get there.  Not only does it help you know who is there it also helps you to...

  2. Plan your route around the show.  This does not avoid those handy serendipity moments, when your eye gets snagged by something you hadn't thought of before, but makes sure you get to see all the people you want to see.

  3. Wear comfy shoes that also look smart. If your feet are happy then your smile will be genuine and this makes starting up a conversation with a new business contact easier.

  4. Use the cafe areas for regular breaks to go through the material you are picking up and see if there is any stall you want to revisit.

  5. Keep your business cards handy, and if you have to carry a bag for all the items you are picking up - make sure you know where everything is. 

  6. Use the left luggage facility for your overnight bag and raincoat/umbrella. 

  7. To QR or not to QR? Some of the business cards that I picked up have those codes on them to make sure you can easily get to that company's website from your mobile device. Industry experts estimate that most online shopping will be done from one of these by 2013 so perhaps I should get them printed on my cards next time I order some more. 

  8. Take notes if you go to any free seminars/ information sessions. I always think I will remember it all when I get home but have found that if I take notes at the time it helps keep it fresh in my mind. 

  9. Be real. If you are just starting out there is no point in pretending that you come from a multi national with a humungous budget.

  10. Use social media (LinkedIn, facebook, twitter ) to keep in contact with the people you meet. The most important tip I learnt from the people from Turquoise Tiger was that it doesn't have to take over your life - just ten minutes a day is enough.