Tips for Starting Conversations at Trade Shows

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Trade shows connect your business with other businesses in your area. Whether you’re preparing for your first or hundredth trade show, you can always learn how to connect better. The best way to connect with other professionals and businesses is through conversation. However, just because you’re great at your business doesn’t mean you’re great at talking. If you need help starting conversations at trade shows, we have some tips below to get you started.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

After setting up your booth at the trade show, you feel ready to interact with people who approach. However, if you want that interaction to last longer than a few minutes and become a real connection, then you must ask the right questions. Asking open-ended questions that prompt your booth guest to talk about themselves is the best way to start the conversation off right. You can ask their opinion about certain business aspects, inquire why they’re at this particular trade show, or even ask them about their business if you know who they are already.

Create Interactive Elements

To start conversations with people, you need to attract them to your booth. Including interactive elements at your booth is the best way to do that. Offer a game or a contest with a winner’s prize to draw people over. You can have a repeatable game for many people to try throughout the show or offer one contest with a winner announced at the end of the day. Start conversations as you clean up after a game or while helping the person sign up for the contest. Questions about previous experience that may help them win or if they’ve participated in similar interactions at other booths will get them talking about themselves so that you can make a connection.

Offer Unique Business Cards

Sometimes you need a physical prompt to help start a conversation. Unique business cards are one of the most popular ways to do that. If someone notices a cool graphic, elegant finish, or special material on your card, they’ll probably mention it, giving you a chance to start a conversation. These conversations can help you make a great first impression at trade shows because you get to show off what sets your business apart. Make sure to ask the card recipient for their card and inquire about what makes their business unique as well.

The number one tip for starting conversations at trade shows is to ask good questions. However, asking good questions is pointless if you don’t listen as the person talks. Don’t get caught up in the sometimes-hectic atmosphere of a trade show as you talk to someone. Focus on the conversation, listen to them, and then use the information you learn to continue to propel the conversation forward. This will help you build a lasting connection that can benefit your business.