Attending a Trade Mission, Event or Exhibition can be a logistical pain if you don’t have an expert team of Events and Exhibitions organisers to help manage the whole process and coordinate the trip from start to finish.
Now that international exhibitions, events and trade missions have re-started after the global pandemic, many organised events are back on for full in-person attendance, with numbers expected to be back to pre-pandemic levels within the next 12 months.
If you’re attending an event in 2022 and beyond either for the first time entirely or since the pandemic, here, we have a handy checklist to help get you organised before attending.
Researching an event or exhibition and choosing the right one before booking to attend is a must but you shouldn’t let it stop there. Identify the value you will get out of the event but taking further research into the timetable, speakers and who is going to be attending (this information can be found normally via a quick LinkedIn post using the event hashtags, searching the hashtags, whilst also taking time to view the attendance button if the organiser has posted one via LinkedIn).
Most events will release a full list of speakers in advance, it’s good to research them and make yourself a list of who you will benefit the most from spending time with and listening to. Why not take time to research who your potential clients may be listening to? This may provide a perfect opportunity to network.
If you are travelling into the EU, free movement rights under the agreed transitional arrangements following Brexit have meant that what you can and can’t take over to an EU country has changed. If you are to be exhibiting and need to take promotional / publicity materials, then you will need to obtain an ATA Carnet. ATA Carnets are available through a specialist solutions provider such as CIBT or from many local Chambers of Commerce.
Other items which may require an ATA Carnet:
- publicity materials (conference/events)
- recorded film and audio
- equipment you need for work like laptops*, cameras or sound equipment
- goods for educational, scientific or cultural purposes
- personal effects and sports goods
* Specialist software on personal laptops
Top Tip: Get connected on socials! Once you’ve researched the speakers it’s good to add them on socials, engage and share their posts. It’s the first step in networking even before the event.
We’ve all missed the interaction from in-person events and exhibitions, especially the networking opportunities an event presents you with. Online webinars were a great stop-gap during the pandemic, but you just can’t compete with face-to-face interaction! Business grows through building relationships and that needs to be face-to-face.
We know that it’s been a while for many regular attendees of events and exhibitions with many of you may be feeling a little ‘rusty’. We know from the in-person events organised since the reopening of the skies and easing of restrictions that many of our clients have found it like “riding a bike” once you step back into it, it’s like you have never been away! And there is a real positivity and enthusiasm since the exhibition halls reopened to be prepared to get involved.
Try to remember that networking isn’t just making new connections, it’s key to nurturing old ones too. After being away from traditional events it’s an ideal time to catch up and seek new opportunities whilst solidifying relationships with people you may not have seen face-to-face for a long time!
Top Tip: Bring your business cards! It’s easy to forget and it may seem old-school, but business cards are still important for networking.
Upon return from your trip make sure to “post-network”. Follow up on the business cards and connections you created, ensuring the connections don’t disappear – add them on LinkedIn and Twitter or even a follow-up via email to keep the conversation going.
Busy Events, Exhibitions and Conferences can pass by relatively quickly, so take the time to review your notes and write up some key points. This is a great way to share your key highlights and valuable insights which could be crucial for your colleagues and the wider team. Keeping the momentum going following an Event / Exhibition or Trade Mission is just as important as before and during. Measure what you have gained and report back, even to yourself, on what opportunities have been created so you can see and prove the true ROI of the time and cost of going to international events and exhibitions.
We hope the above brief tips help you to be prepared beyond booking and attending your next Event, Trade Mission or Exhibition.