• How to Network Your Way to a Great New Job

    (StatePoint) When it comes to getting a job or doing business, social media and other forms of electronic communication are a great networking tool, however, there will never be a substitute for communicating face-to-face.

    In 2013, 68 million business professionals attended business-to-business exhibitions, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (www.CEIR.org). And it’s no wonder that this industry contributes more than $79.3 billion directly to the gross domestic product in attendee and exhibitor spending.

    All working professionals stand to gain from attending exhibitions and events as buyers, exhibitors, or simply as general attendees. Whether you’re at a major trade show looking for candidates to help expand your business, or you’re a job seeker attending a local business conference, exhibitions bring the right audiences together.

    “Exhibitions are a key networking tool, as well as a valuable resource for gaining insights in your field, growing professionally through education or training, or simply by observing what other companies and leaders in your field are doing,” says David DuBois, President & CEO, International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE).

    Whatever your goals are, there are universal ways to maximize your presence at industry events:

    Be Prepared

    Learn about event attendees and engage with them online in advance so that when you meet in person, you’re simply continuing the dialogue. Trade show organizers often provide planning resources, like mobile apps and scheduling tools that make these conversations easier.

    It is helpful to create a list of who you plan to connect with beforehand and what you want to get out of your experience.

    Are you starting a business? See if the event features a startup session. Most events have space on the exhibit floor dedicated to startups as well. Are you interested in expanding your professional skills set? Look into the education sessions available. 

     “The most important thing is confidence and preparation, so engage with your surroundings and ask questions. Everyone there is focused on gaining the most out of their experience, so be sure you do the same,” says DuBois.

    New Career Path

    While employment rates are on the rise, they’re still lower than prior to the recession. Despite the numbers, the exhibitions and events industry is thriving, supporting 1.8 million jobs across the country, according to the Convention Industry Council.

    Whether your experience is in research, food and beverage management, event planning or sales, the exhibitions and events industry may be an ideal sector to forge a new career.

    Learn

    You may no longer be in school, but that’s no excuse to discontinue career training or your education. Take advantage of workshops, seminars and the other opportunities to expand your skills and earn new certifications that exhibitions and events provide. At the very least, such experiences can provide an opening with key contacts.

    More information about the benefits of exhibitions and event attendance, as well as statistics about the industry can be found at www.IAEE.com.

    Whether you’re the top boss or looking to get hired, exhibitions and events can be a great time and money investment.

    Photo Credit: (c) IAEE and Oscar Einzig

    Source Link: http://www.unionrecorder.com/online_features/business_and_careers/how-to-network-your-way-to-a-great-new-job/article_a92f3038-9193-5506-82f4-282371f94a9d.html

  • Exhibiting at a Trade Show?

    How to maximize returns from your investment

    Mikal E. Belicove

    You’re heading to your first trade show and just know you’ll make a killing from your exhibit in that one weekend. Why not? You’ve got a great attitude, you’re marketing the best product in your industry, and you’re the master of your 10-by-10-foot exhibit-floor realm.

    But Jeff Overall, founder and CEO of Polar Pro Filters, a Southern California startup that manufactures accessories for GoPro cameras, had a rookie reality check when exhibiting at a scuba-industry trade show in Las Vegas. “On the drive, we were all talking about what kind of cars we’d buy with the hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales we were going to make at the show,” Overall recalls. “Our goal was to sell a ton of [underwater] camera filters as well as get our name out there.”

    The truth—as Overall learned—is that if you’re not introducing the next potion for immortality, you have a razor-thin chance of walking away with piles of cash or orders. He and his Pro Filters team realized this on Day One and wisely altered their objectives: Instead of sales, they focused more on exposure, capturing feedback about their product and scoping out the competition.

    Another sobering fact about trade shows: They ain’t cheap. The Expo Group—a suburban Dallas-based general service contractor for national trade-show organizers, corporate planners and exhibitors—estimates the average cost of booth space at the 9,000 or so annual U.S. trade shows at $25 per square foot, or about $2,500 for a standard 10-by-10 booth. But that’s only the beginning. The real cost is about triple that amount, says Dana Freker Doody, Expo Group vice president. That markup accounts for shipping, booth decoration/graphics, materials handling, travel, electrical outlet access on the show floor and miscellaneous expenses, plus you’ll have to sacrifice “real work” time back at the home office. It’s no wonder many first-time exhibitors have second thoughts—$7,500 per show is serious cash for a small company.

    So what’s the best way to ensure payback?

    Assuming you have a great booth and display, success is all about marketing before, during and after the show, says Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association. The 2,000-plus-member CEA trade group owns and produces the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world’s largest innovation trade show. Shapiro shares his insider tips for mining a show’s prime opportunities—establishing relationships, generating sales, doing business and creating partnerships.

    • Start with a blitz of pre-show promotion of your presence first, Shapiro advises. Create a press kit to promote yourself and your products to the media. Many trade shows offer electronic press kits online and set aside an area on-site for hard-copy press kits. “If you have major news to share during the show, such as a new product announcement, sending press releases to a targeted list of media covering your product category is another way to promote your show presence.”

    • In addition, you can often rent the show’s list of pre-registered attendees, Shapiro says, and use it to set up appointments with important customers and suppliers beforehand.

    • Also publicize your trade-show plans—indicating when you’ll be there and your booth location—on your website and in emails, newsletters, publications and/or news releases. “All of these are great free options for promoting your trade-show presence,” Shapiro says.

    • Then keep in touch. “At shows, most attendees will be using a smartphone or tablet to stay connected through social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google +,” Shapiro says. “Send updates via social media about new products showcased at your booth, celebrity appearances, press conferences or special events, speaking engagements and more. Always include your booth location.”

    • And put yourself out there. “Trade shows are extremely valuable for a number of reasons, one being that they allow for serendipity,” Shapiro says. “Network like crazy so you can meet key players from your industry and related industries. Attending these events helps cultivate new business relationships and encourages new audiences to visit your booth.”

    • If you can afford it, raise your profile with an investment in on-site branding. You might sponsor a show floor area, an event such as a press breakfast or lunch, or a conference program session.

    • As the show unfolds, carefully save the contact details you collect when attendees visit your booth or meet with you or your employees. Call your contacts after the show, tell them you enjoyed meeting with them, and continue the conversation about your product or brand.

    So in essence, a trade show is all about connections. And if you need proof, here’s what happened with Jeff Overall and his team. “On our first day, we made about $500 in sales,” he recalls. “We were pretty bummed out, and on top of that we had to eat gas-station hot dogs in our crappy hotel room with no TV.”

    So they dramatically changed focus—to wholesale accounts. “Most shop owners did not really take us seriously, but we convinced most of them to try just one or two filters. At the end of the show, we opened 63 accounts and got pretty fired up about that.”

    He and his team walked the entire floor, and when a booth had a GoPro camera on display, Polar Pro team members introduced themselves to the exhibitors and asked whether they wanted a super-cool filter for the camera. “The most valuable thing we got from this first show was connections,” Overall says. “It definitely wasn’t what we were looking for, but in the end proved to be the most valuable.”

    Source Link: http://www.success.com/article/exhibiting-at-a-trade-show

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