As a public relations professional, I’m fortunate to have a career that allows for frequent travel, so you can only imagine the excitement that ensued last month, when I got to spend four days in Las Vegas to attend Ceridian INSIGHTS, one of our clients’ largest annual customer forum.
Throughout the four days, I spent a significant amount of time learning about the client, its services and customers, and meeting many new faces, who were all in town for the very same reason I was — to be immersed in the Ceridian culture.
If you’re attending a client tradeshow in the near future, be sure to follow these four tips to maximize your time at the event:
- Don’t Be Afraid to Network. With over 2,000 professionals present at INSIGHTS – including Ceridian customers, prospects and internal employees – it was the perfect opportunity to network with others outside of the PR industry. Don’t be afraid to walk up to a group of strangers and introduce yourself. Ask them where they’re from; why they’re attending; or, my favorite question, what publications they read on a daily basis. It will spark a discussion, and help you learn a new dimension of your client that you can’t get elsewhere.
- Listen for Common Themes or Trends. Whether I was sitting in on a presentation session or speaking to someone during lunch, I always had a pen and notebook at the ready. In PR, you’re always looking for that timely hook, trend or theme that’s of interest to reporters, and you never know when you’ll hear it discussed. It can even arise in informal conversation, which is yet another reason to follow tip number one and network.
- Bond with your Client. Client relationships matter – in fact, more often than not, clients become our friends. During INSIGHTS, we had a few hours of free time during some nights, and I didn’t let that go to waste. One of my favorite memories from the tradeshow was venturing out on the Vegas strip with my client contact to shop and see the Fountains of Bellagio light up at night. Venture out and make after hour plans with your client, to get to know them on a more personal (yet still professional) level.
- Have Fun! Ceridian is a company that strives to make work life better for employees, and they truly lived up to that by hosting fun activities throughout my four days at INSIGHTS. For example, I got to attend my very first Cirque de Soleil show, get a mini makeover from Sephora, and even meet a Star Wars Stormtrooper. The tradeshow was a perfect balance of education and entertainment, and it was one of the best experiences in my career thus far.
What are some of your go-to tactics when attending a client tradeshow? Let us know by dropping a comment below.