It’s exciting when you are looking for a new product for your school, whether that be a new piece of technology, furniture, equipment for the classroom or new teaching resources. However, the marketplace can be overwhelming at times, particularly if you are attending a Trade Show or Exhibition to gain ideas. We’ve put together 5 top tips to make sure you get the most out of visiting a Trade Show or Exhibition and find the product you need to enhance your teaching experience, as well as your students’ learning experience.
1. Know what you want to achieve by visiting the Show.
Sounds obvious, but it really helps focus your agenda for the day if you know what you want to achieve by attending the Trade Show or Exhibition. Are you looking for a specific product or company? Are you looking at a specific item in particular? Are you gaining knowledge on what different suppliers can offer? Are you looking to buy at the Show or just to gain more information on prices? Have a set of realistic outcomes and your experience should be fruitful.
2. Know your agenda for the day.
If you know which exhibitors you want to speak to after conducting your initial research, you can plan your time in advance. Why not divide your list into two halves; Must See and Want To See. That way you can target who you need to see for the product or technology that you are interested in and then, if you have time, you can visit exhibitors who may be of wider interest for future development at your school.
3. Look out for live marketing at the Show.
Look out for any live marketing that may be advertising demonstrations or talks by guest speakers. There may be a demonstration or talk that is specific to your area of product research, or a question and answer session by an industry expert that will allow you to gain immediate answers to your most pressing questions. That way, you can make a quick alteration to your schedule but know that you have gained the most from what is on offer at the show.
4. Meet up with other visitors who are in the same position as you.
If you know of colleagues from other schools who are attending the same Show as you, why not arrange to meet for a coffee or lunch at some point during the day to talk about your experiences and the contacts you have met. It may be the case that they would also benefit from the contacts that you have been speaking to on the day, or vice versa. It enables you to all share information to make future experiences even more smooth and successful.
5. Do not hesitate to make contact with suppliers after the show.
As soon as you can, make contact with the suppliers and company representatives that were of interest to you with any questions or queries that you may have. They will be keen to follow up with you after the show to make sure that you are still interested in their products and services, so ask them any questions you may have, no matter what the question may be. They are there to help you and it will enable you to gain as much information as you can so that your choice of product or new technology is as informed as it can be.
So, with Trade Shows such as BETT and The Education Show coming up in January 2019, always remember to approach each Show or Exhibition you visit with an open mind but have an idea of a strategy for how you want to approach the show so that your outcomes are realistic and viable. Gain as much knowledge and understanding as you can by asking questions, even those you’re afraid to ask. Above all, enjoy the experience! Make it work for your needs.