Six Tips to Prepare for a Trade Show
· Know Your Brand: Like ANY and ALL brand ambassador and promotional modeling work, be educated on your brand prior to arrival. This means researching the brand, reading any decks sent by your booking agent, and learning anything you can pertaining to the product or service and its clientele. If you are working general staff for the venue, and will not be representing a brand so much as the event as a whole, research the event, the type of vendors who will be there, and who the target audience is. You will be interacting with both vendors and patrons; if you know what they are looking for, you can be much more helpful!
· Know Your Audience: Who will be coming to the trade show? Business men and women? Make up artists? Musicians? Tech Investors? Each trade show will have its own very clear and concise vibe, so be a chameleon. If it’s BeautyCon, even if you don’t really like makeup, today you do! If it’s NAMM, you better brush up on the industry leaders in musical instrument production, and sound equipment. If you happen to be at E3, grab a videogame console and learn how to use it! Sounding like you know nothing about the products and experiences at the convention looks not only unprofessional, but will be embarrassing, and make everyone, including the brand you represent, look bad. And no matter what, never say “I don’t know, I just work here.” Instead, divert answers you don’t know to something like “That is a great question, lets ask Bill and learn together” or “I’m not completely certain, but Bill, one of the developers, can answer your question in great detail, lets introduce the two of you!” Find out early in the day who you should come to with questions, so you know who will be available and educated to answer them.
· Know Your Attire: Apparel can vary widely at tradeshows. While you should always have a nice business casual look ready, many shows will ask specific attire such as a uniform or dress they provide. A must have for working tradeshows is a nice pair of black pants. Not business slacks, but nice black denim, such as skinny or boot cut jeans for women, and black jeans for men. Many brands will bring shirts they wish for their models to wear, so if you know it will be one of those situations, wear a clean, nice, unbranded black t-shirt upon arrival, until you have a chance to change. For women, it is smart to also wear a thin black tank top, in case you don’t have a good place for privacy to change into your required apparel. Always be prepared for the unexpected! For instance, if your manager does not have apparel for you, or brought the wrong size. Bring something business casual that looks nice and can blend well with any of the other models who may have their uniforms, something like a white blouse and black skirt is always good to have on hand!
· Be Aware of the Layout of the Venue: Convention centers and concert arenas are HUGE! The booth you are working might be hard to find, so make sure to check if there were any maps sent to you before the event, showing how to find your booth, or where to meet a team lead or contact. Make a note of where the parking facilities will be if you are driving, where you will enter the building, and where that entrance is in location to your booth.
· Have Your Team Lead or Contact in Your Phone: A great rule of thumb is to reach out the night before to a team lead or on site contact, and let them know you will see them tomorrow! This way you both have each other’s numbers and have made contact. Make sure you have the cell number of your contact or team lead in your phone before you leave for the event. You might not be able to pull up your email when you get there, due to metal buildings and poor cell signal. Double check that you are contacting the team lead, and not just the booking agent. While they will most likely still help you, if a team lead and their contact info was listed in your pre-event paperwork, it will look unprofessional, and this booking agent is someone you want to book you again!
· Come Prepared for a Long Day: Bring a small bag or backpack with whatever you might need for a long day. This includes, but is not limited to: snacks and or lunch, any medications you might need, makeup and hairstyling products to freshen up, etc. Sometimes you will be given complementary meals if you are working long hours, but you can never count on this, and it is not owed to employees. Bring an unbranded black jacket or sweatshirt in case your working environment is cold. Always ask first before wearing anything that isn’t uniform, however. Clients may ask you to wear it under a branded shirt, or not at all, but you can wear it on breaks or time away from the booth.