Attending trade shows can be a necessary evil or a wonderful opportunity to network with potential suppliers and customers to build your business. If your goal is to make the most of the multiple opportunities attending a trade show can present, check out these tips for surviving your first or (fiftieth) trade show.

1. Wear comfortable footwear.
Walking on a trade show floor is not the time to break in a new pair of shoes. If you are planning to buy a new pair for the show, do so a few weeks in advance and break them in well before the first day of the event. You may want to add some cushioned insoles to your shoes for extra comfort, especially if you will be standing or walking on a concrete floor for most of the day.

2. Drink plenty of water.
The air inside hotels, conference centers, and other locations where trade shows are held is likely to be quite dry. Bring bottled water with you and make a point of staying well hydrated throughout the day. It’s a good idea to apply some clear, unscented lip balm to keep your lips from drying out, especially if you will be spending most of your day talking to people.

Since dry mouth can lead to halitosis, bring along a supply of breath mints for yourself and your team. The minty taste will provide a pick-me-up and freshen your breath all at once!

3. Take time for meal breaks.
In most cases, you will not be allowed to eat at your booth during a trade show, but this doesn’t mean that you should try to go all day without a break. Schedule meal and other breaks for yourself and your team. While attending the show, try to follow a balanced diet that includes low fat dairy products, lean sources of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

4. Make sure you get enough rest.
It can be tempting to try to burn the candle at both ends by staying up late and then trying to get an early start while working a trade show. Try to stick to your regular sleep routine as much as you can so you will be well rested.

5. Get to know your fellow exhibitors.
You are not going to have high volumes of traffic throughout the trade show. Make a point of getting to know the people in the booths around you. Start during the set-up time by saying hello and being helpful if anyone needs assistance.

During slow times, ask your neighbors about their businesses and share information about your enterprise. You already have something in common with the other businesses at the trade show, so treat them either as potential customers or as someone who can introduce you to one.

By following these five tips for surviving your first (or fiftieth) trade show, you will be able to make the experience a successful one for you and your business.

Courtney Ramirez
Research Analyst, Pacific Business Centers (rebranded as Pacific Workplaces)
Courtney’s research for Pacific Business Centers focuses on tracking emerging business trends and best practices – with an emphasis on how they affect business operations, technology, and the future of work trends.