Blog Posts

Networking a tradeshow

I get asked all the time, how do you know so many people?!  The answer, I network. I can look back on my career, and tell you when I stopped networking by accident, and started networking on purpose.  That effort landed me a dream job, and I haven’t stopped since.

So, as I head out to my favorite annual tradeshow this week, I thought I’d share a few tips on navigating the tradeshow and industry meeting landscape to level-up your career.  These are GREAT events to fast track your professional networking.

The key to success is knowing WHY you’re networking, and WHAT networking is. Ask yourself, what’s my objective? Is it a first job, new job, professional development, WHAT do you want in 5, 10, 15 years? WHO are the people that embody what you’re seeking? And remember, networking is farming, not hunting; we plant relations, we don’t just collect contacts.

  1. Prior Planning!
    1. Download the event app. Seriously, who doesn’t have an event app these days, but if they don’t, the website should have the same info, exhibitor list, speaker schedule, and more.  Get deep, go past the Agenda.  
      1. Populate your schedule
      2. Identify Exhibitors to make live connections with
      3. Identify Speakers to schedule live connections with
    2. Update your LinkedIn
      1. Is your Profile picture a professional head shot, if not, get one.
      2. Current work/education, this is your LIVING resume, keep it alive.
      3. Follow the people/ companies you plan to connect with, the more active you are on LinkedIn, the more your connections will grow.
  2. Plan & schedule in-person connections
    1. Reach out via the app, email or LinkedIn to briefly intro yourself, request a connection, this may be on the trade-show floor, in a hallway at a designated spot, coffee station, etc. 
    2. Be on-time, prepared with 2 – 3 questions, and be respectful of their time.
  3. Follow-up!
    1. Be boring and expected: send an Email.  It may be boring and expected, but do it anyway.
    2. Make it Count: send a LinkedIn personal message.  This is a foundation to build your career, get active on LinkedIn.
    3. Be remembered: send a HAND-WRITTEN NOTE. Yes, people still do this, and it’s a differentiator!
    4. In your follow-up, identify the connections you want more time, and a deeper connection with. Schedule coffee, lunch, a virtual face-to-face, whatever it is, if you want this specific connection to mentor, support, educate, advise and open doors for you, this relationship is your responsibility to nurture.

Above all, Be Authentic, Upbeat, Focused, Confident, Candid, and Concise. 

Cheers to LIFE, Living Inspired, Fulfilled and Empowered!


“Finding the women who are 5 – 10 years ahead of me in their careers, in roles that I’m interested in, and creating relationships with them has been the key to my career success, they have become my most influential mentors, and friends.”