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Business exhibitions are a great place to practice your networking skills, especially as there are people there, ready and wanting to build their network. 

You don’t have to go full throttle and buy a stand space at your very first expo (but it can be an excellent boost for your business), sometimes the best thing to do is to go as a guest and have an open mind about what you can gain from the event.

I highly recommend having a goal – let’s say meeting 3 new people you would like to have a coffee with, or to met 2 new potential suppliers/referral partners to help you build your business offering. Make it something achievable, rather than unobtainable. You’re not going to get a sale from the people you meet, they are all there to build networks and their connections as you are, so aim to follow up and have more conversations with them in the future.

Your business exhibition checklist:

  • Business cards – plenty of them. If you can, write the event name and date on them, so when people take them, they will remember where and when they met you.
  • Pen and paper/notebook – this will help you if you get more than a 2 minute chat with a new connection.
  • Breath mints – if there’s free coffee, you’ll want to have fresh breath when chatting with new people.
  • Expo agenda – there will usually be speakers at these events, if you want to see a specific person, ensure you know when and where they will be.
  • The hashtag and Twitter handle of the event – use this in the days running up to and the day of the event. You can build up new connections before you even set foot in the room! You can even set up meetings for the day, to make it even more productive.

These are just a few ideas to get you started, I suggest going out there and giving a business expo a try. There’s even one coming up near me, on 16th July, the yearly Basingstoke Expo.