Industry Q&A: Navigating Trade Shows — Tips and Tricks, Part 1

Jul 23, 2018

We asked the following folks how to maximize their time at Expo — or any other trade show, for that matter:

  • Hemant Daya, Dayatech (HD) Australia
  • Sherrie Edward, Archimedia (SE) Egypt
  • Ankur Bhatt, Sound Sense (AB) India
  • Mike Ranpura, Smart Life AV (MR) UKSandra Rogers, Smartcomm (SR) UK
  • Manuel Fernández, TrendHouse S.A. (MF) Argentina
  • Karen Chugg, Intelligent Abodes (KC) UK
  • Eric Crawford, The Loop (EC) Boise, ID USA
(Check out Part 2 here.)
What’s priority one for you when attending an exhibition and why?

SE: I love dedicating time to doing it all, however, for me personally, the number one priority has got to be networking. I have been attending CEDIA Expo for four years, and I have gotten the chance to meet the most spectacular people. This results in not only having personal contacts with manufacturers, system integrators, and other industry leaders, but I have the honor of calling some of them friends. We keep in touch beyond trade shows and share ideas, resources, and the occasional drink.

AB: Priority number one is ALWAYS education. That being said, the delight of being introduced to new technology is a close second.

SR: As head of procurement, my main priority is to meet up with manufacturers and distributors. Not only is it an opportunity to build and improve communications and relationships, but I can catch up on ongoing projects, discuss upcoming projects, and make new contacts. I also see exhibitions as an opportunity to see the new technologies available.

How do you budget your time properly?

HD: I always budget my time around the training schedules. I then look at the exhibitors whose products I’m most interested in. But above all, I always seem to find lots of time for food and coffee.

SE: Months before the actual show, I schedule meetings with the people and brands I want to see and use the CEDIA website to manage the sheer number of courses I look forward to taking during that short period of time. I always leave the last day to walk around the show floor.

AB: When I have training classes scheduled, then my time in between and after classes will be spent researching new tech and networking. If I’m not attending training, I schedule the first half of my day(s) to acquaint myself with new tech and industry partners. I then use the remainder of my time for every other possible invention that catches my eye — lighting, furniture, recliners, etc. The goal is consistent — keep your eyes peeled for any potential business idea.

MR: I avoid pre-arranging any meetings or booking educational sessions during a show floor event. They put a monkey wrench in the works, and you have to plan your day around them. I feel that systematically zig-zagging my way up and down every aisle is the most effective way to get around. That way, you never miss anything or anyone. You may spend more time at some stands than others, but it balances out as you skip past irrelevant stands and eventually cover the whole show before it finishes.

EC: I build a plan for what booths I want to see, including the actual order I will see them. I’ll then set aside time to meet with other dealers for coffee, lunch, or dinner, and plan to attend at least a couple classes on improving my business.

Are there any tools you find personally useful for time management?

AB: I prefer to use the iPhone calendar app. It is simple yet effective and provides me with event and meeting scheduling/reminders.

MR: You won’t see me without a watch on my wrist. Google Calendar is sufficient enough to quickly put appointments in on the fly and a simple Notes app to keep track of things to action after the event.

SR: I find that having an app with the exhibition map and the stand location by manufacturer is key. It saves time as it allows me to plan my route, mark off the interesting booths, and makes getting from one meeting to another more efficient.

KC: We create a WhatsApp group so we can all stay in touch while at the event.



CEDIA blog posts are intended to provide general information and should not be regarded as legal opinions or advice.

Become a member!

CEDIA members have access to training, resources, networking, and discounts that help build stronger home technology businesses.


Subscribe to our newsletter for useful tips and valuable resources.