The Dos and Don’ts of exhibitions, conferences and shows.

In the two short years since starting out, we’ve done more than our fair share of exhibitions as Gamewagon Events. From London to Liverpool we’ve attended or exhibited at events focussed on games, weddings, venues, bar mitzvahs and err… events.

Exhibitions are a fantastically condensed way to do business, cramming weeks of leads, networking and deals in to a few long days. They can also be a hellish slog if you’re not prepared. So, in no particular order, here are some of the lessons we’ve learnt and how to make the most of the show, without losing your sanity.

Don’t run out of business cards. How ever many you think you need, you’ll always need more.

Do talk to the other exhibitors. Make friends with your stand neighbours and take the time to walk the show floor. Other exhibitors can often be the most valuable contacts.

Don’t eat the food at the show. Exhibition hall food is always over priced and generally rubbish. Nip in to the town of an evening and get some sandwiches for the following day. You’ll be glad of your Tesco meal deal when others are spending £6 on a cold hotdog.

Do treat everyone you meet like a potential lead. No one is irrelevant to your business. It may not be immediately obvious but anyone can be of use.

Don’t pay the list price for show space. The organisers are always open to negotiation, especially as the show date approaches. Haggling is par for the course and the cheaper your pitch, the bigger your margin on deals closed.

Do make contact with the organisers. The exhibition can be a hugely complicated affair and knowing who to speak to when something isn’t right with your stand will save precious time in putting it right.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated. When you’re on your feet all day, talking for hours on end, water is your best friend. Keep plenty of bottles of water on the go, just don’t drink them on the stand.

Do think about the presentation of your stand. Think about the key information you want to convey and the most effective way to get the point across. People will walk past time and again without stopping to chat. If your stand is interesting or distinct enough, it’ll go a long way to maximising your contacts.

Don’t let your leads go cold. Follow up with everyone, big or small, immediately after the event. Try and make your emails personalised. A message the references the specific conversation you had will be far better received than a copy/paste group message.

Do enjoy yourself! If you’re having fun it’ll show. Keeping your team motivated and enthusiastic is the number one way to draw a crowd.