Dos and Don’ts for GSX
- By Matt Jones
- Sep 09, 2022
This time last year, I wrote about how GSX 2021 was my first trade show ever. I’ve been to a few more since then, and while I won’t pretend that a year and a half has turned me into a grizzled industry veteran, I will say that my handful of experiences has given me a much better idea of what to expect.
As GSX 2022 kicks into gear, here are a handful of tips to make the most of your trade show experience:
- Make an itinerary: It’s tough to come up with a balance between structured and unstructured time. Last year, as a newbie, I came into the show with maybe 2 or 3 hard, pre-scheduled appointments on my schedule. That left me with a lot of time to do laps around the show floor, weaving in and out of aisles, picking relevant-looking booths at random. I got a feel for the show and got my sea legs, but by the end of the day, my feet hurt and I didn’t feel like I’d accomplished much. This time around, I wouldn’t say my schedule is jam-packed, but I definitely have places to be and people to meet. And far from dreading the busyness, I’m glad I have a little more going on than a seven-hour walking tour of the expo.
- Leave time to wander: I realize that this directly contradicts the above point. But in a gathering this large, I think it’s important to leave time to explore the unknown. Maybe a company name or their booth setup catches your attention; maybe they have a particularly enticing pile of freebies that attracts your attention. I will say that in the last year, I’ve made a handful of continuing business relationships that started with me passing by a booth and noticing a particularly cool-looking T-shirt, or USB drive, or stress ball. Leave time for new experiences, and for the things you don’t know that you don’t know.
- Bring a water bottle and comfortable shoes: Trade shows do require a certain level of physical exertion; my step count is exponentially higher during work events than on an average day working from home. During conferences, I’ve noticed more than a handful of people decked out in business suits and tennis shoes. At the very least, a pair of shoe inserts goes a long, long way. Similarly, on my last couple trips, I’ve brought my 32-oz. water bottle along, and it’s really handy being able to refill it as I pass by a water fountain—and it’s saved me a ton of money (or at least the hassle of saving receipts & filing an expense report) on event refreshments.
Travel safe, and we’ll see you in Atlanta!