It is common for large scale business gatherings have sponsors. Most often these sponsors have the opportunity to display their goods and services at a booth or table. Sometimes these are simply tables in the back of the room or in the networking area, and other times there is a full exhibit hall.
No matter where the trade show portion of the event is set up, many attendees avoid visiting the vendor displays. This is a mistake.
First, while most people agree that attending association or industry events is a beneficial activity, few spend time thinking about how important the sponsors are to the success of the conference. The corporate sponsors are what makes the event possible, or the cost to attend and all the special activities would be cost prohibitive for those who want to attend.
Second, the products and services offered at a business event are often specifically useful to the companies who participate in the event. We live in an age of innovation, and thus suppliers are often releasing new things that can have real impact on their clients. Just because you think you know what a sponsor might be able to do for you, if you are not investigating the current offerings you might be missing out on great tools.
Walking the trade show floor is a great way to meet new people and cultivate relationships with old friends. Do not avoid this part of your conference experience, but instead make it a priority. It is smart to make plans to roam the trade show with someone. It allows you the chance to talk and share the time while visiting the booths. Having a "buddy" will also allows you to engage and disengage from conversations easily as you roam and talk with the vendors.
Exploring the trade show is more than just roaming around and taking handfuls of candy and grabbing cool toys covered in corporate logos to bring home to your kids. To make it worth your time you must look, ask and listen. Engage people and find out what their companies have to offer. While not everything is something you will want or need, you can miss some amazing products and services if you are not in the room.
Finding ways to get the attendees to visit the trade show floor is often a big issue for those who organize events. Do not fall prey to the idea that the vendors are not part of the event. They are a vital part of your conference success, and the discovery process of roaming the trade show floor is part of maximizing your conference.
Have A Great Day.
Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections. http://www.conferencecatalyst.com