With the construction industry’s largest trade show approaching quickly ― not to mention the largest trade show of any kind in North America ― you might be asking yourself what you can do to prepare for the long days and nights.
Here are some tips for making the most of trade shows, such as CONEXPO-CON/AGG, without feeling like a zombie when you reach the end.
1. Wear comfortable shoes
Shoes … really? Yes, shoes are where it all starts. Trade shows are the last place to break in a new pair of shoes. Avoid blisters and sore feet by wearing a pair of comfortable dress shoes. Consider buying insoles to give your feet a refresher. Bring multiple pairs and alternate shoes to keep your feet feeling fresh.
2. Drink, drink, drink … water
Our bodies can quickly become dehydrated when we travel on airplanes, visit dry climates, and overconsume caffeinated and alcoholic drinks. Prepare for a trade show by drinking extra water before you leave home. Athletes who play in extreme summer heat start hydrating days before they play. Do the same to prepare for the show. Start each day of the show with a glass of water. Be sure to continue drinking water throughout the day to counter your coffee and soda intake. Bring a refillable water bottle to your booth. Refill it to avoid wasting plastic bottles. If you go out for dinner and drink coffee or alcohol, be sure to continue drinking water, especially before you go to bed. You’ll feel much better the next day.
3. Remember Mom’s old saying: “You are what you eat.”
Being on the road can be a disaster for even the most disciplined eater. Throw in top-of-the-line five-star restaurants and a lack of sleep, and it could take your calorie count to the top of the Stratosphere. Start each day with breakfast. After all, it’s still the most important meal of the day. If your hotel provides fresh fruit, include some in your meal, as well as some protein for long-lasting energy. When you’re working the show, take time for breaks and eat healthy snacks, if possible. Take a protein bar along and skip the temptation for high-sugar snacks from food vendors. Remember portion control. Don’t be afraid to leave food on your plate when you’re eating out. Although it’s delicious, you’ll feel better if you don’t overeat.
4. Get your ZZZs
Traveling, working at a trade show, and going out at night isn’t the best formula for getting an optimal seven to eight hours of sleep. Study after study tells us that not getting enough sleep affects us in many ways. We tend to overeat when we’re tired, consume more caffeinated beverages that dehydrate us, forget important details, etc. Remember that working a trade show is like running a marathon. Pace yourself and don’t burn out the first night. Turn off your computer when you go to bed, and put your phone in the do not disturb mode. If you’re staying in a noisy hotel or need a little sound to fall asleep, invest in a white noise app for your smartphone.
5. Treat everyone with respect
Trade shows can be stressful. Remember the golden rule and treat everyone how you want to be treated. When you’re working at the show, be friendly and courteous to visitors. Welcome guests in your booth and treat everyone as if they’re a customer. You never know; the person you least expect to be an owner just might be a long-time, loyal customer. Make good eye contact with guests. Ask engaging, open-ended questions and most importantly ― listen.
With these five tips in mind, make your next trade show a memorable one without feeling like a cast member of the popular TV show “The Walking Dead” by the time you get to the airport for your return flight home.