I recently returned from a successful trip to the Euroseeds Congress on the picturesque island of Malta. Every time I return from an event, I meet with my team and evaluate our preparations, execution and follow-ups and look for ways to make the whole experience more seamless. 

Trade shows are bustling hubs of opportunity, and although they only last a few days, preparation starts weeks to months in advance. Over the years I’ve learned you can make the most of these events by effectively preparing, actively engaging during the show, and implementing strategic follow-up afterward.

Setting clear objectives and creating a well-thought-out plan before the trade show is crucial. Start by familiarizing yourself with meeting locations available at the venue, the exhibitor list and schedule. Identify the organizations that align with your business goals and reach out in advance to schedule meetings in their calendars. Prioritize your time and resources wisely to ensure that you make the most of your visit.

Networking is a fundamental aspect of trade shows. Don’t just collect business cards aimlessly. Instead, engage in meaningful conversations, ask questions, listen to their pain points, and share insights and experiences on these topics. Building purposeful connections can open doors and create lasting relationships in your industry. 

Event strategy doesn’t end with the event. After the trade show has concluded, it’s essential to follow up promptly and with care. Send personalized follow-up emails, connect on professional platforms like LinkedIn, and schedule meetings to maintain and strengthen the relationships you’ve established. This step is crucial for turning initial interactions into valuable, ongoing partnerships.

Attending trade shows in today’s climate can use many organization resources, so it is increasingly crucial to use them effectively. This requires careful planning, purposeful engagement and precise follow-up. Investing in a complete event strategy will help you maximize the benefits of your visit and ensure that you leave the event with valuable connections, knowledge and opportunities for your business.