12 Trade Show Networking Tips for Entrepreneurs

Twelve powerful tips to network like a pro at your next trade show.

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7. Get over your fear of social rejection.

“The key to networking is getting over your fear of social rejection. It takes 5 whole seconds of courage to introduce yourself to a stranger; you never know what will happen until you take that first step. Keep a plan of action in your mind for the conversation. Do you want to accomplish something specific with this person? Stay focused, be yourself, and be respectful.”

– Seth Young, CEO of Star Fantasy Leagues, Inc., @sethyoung


8. Use social media to build rapport.

“Connect via Linkedin or Twitter before the show. Once you’re at the show, be social. Share via Twitter and Instagram who you’re meeting and promote them. You’ll build incredible relationships that will be extremely beneficial to your entrepreneurial future.”

– Michael Kawula, Founder of Self Employed King, @SelfEmployDKing


9. Organize a contest and be approachable.

“Raffle a prize to collect contact information from the attendees. Also, don’t sit behind a table, but rather stand in front of it, so that you can easily talk with attendees.”

– Holly Stokes, Owner of The Brain Trainer, @hollystokes


10. Take advantage of unique opportunities.

“While walking the expo floor at conferences, have a way to demo your product via your smartphone or iPad. You never know when you’re going to bump into someone who wants to know more. Secondly, I do my best networking at the parties that happen at night in the hotel bar. You really get to know people better when the crowd is smaller and more intimate.”

– Chris Russell, Founder and CEO of Career Cloud, LLC., @chrisrussell


11. Identify key people you would like to meet.

“Shows are big and time goes fast, but with a little planning, you can [create] a list of the key people you want to  meet. Plan to stop by each booth.”

– Catriona Harris, Co-Founder of Uproar PR, @CatrionaHarris


12. Look to connect on a ‘human’ level.

“Think of how you can be of service to the people you’re interacting with rather than approaching them with the goal of getting them to do something for you. What questions can you answer for them? What [do] you have in common outside of [business]? When you connect with people on a human level, rather than just hustling your business, you’ll make much stronger connections that can yield much better results.”

– Suzi Istvan, Founder of Social Suzi Designs, @TweetSuzi

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