Hot on the heels of a spectacular Avanti User Group conference in May, I am now in the thick of planning some really great events for Print 17 (more on that next month). And I’m not always planning an event. Sometimes I’m attending one… as a delegate, a speaker or for continuing education credits.

Over the years, I began developing a mental checklist. It didn’t matter what type of event it was, whether it was local or on the other side of the world. This list has gotten me through it all.

print media centr trade show survival tips-01

So whether you’re a seasoned event planner, a first time trade show attendee or anything in between, I present to you:

Joanne’s tradeshow survival checklist:

  1. Know where the bathrooms are on the trade show floor. Need I say more?
  2. Have plenty of business cards on hand. Tip: keep a stash in your name badge holder for quick access to pristine cards.
  3. Stay hydrated – Aim for 6 – 8 glasses of water. And yes, this is why question #1 exists.
  4. This means your lips too. Keep chapstick/lipstick on hand.
  5. And your throat. Throw a pack of lozenges in your bag or pick them up at the airport
  6. Beer doesn’t count (and you’ll still need to know where the bathrooms are)
  7. Wear comfortable shoes – I get that this might not always be possible, particularly for the females. But when you’re not “on duty”, throw on a pair of flip flops or sneakers and give your feet a break.
  8. Pack blister bandaids. See #7
  9. Get some fresh air. Take a few deep cleansing breaths. Count to 10. Do it again. Your brain will say thank you.
  10. Fuel up on as many fresh fruits, nuts, and veggies during the day as possible. Make a run to a local Walgreens or CVS. Many now have already cut up fruit and veggies bagged and ready to go.
  11. Keep your breath fresh and your hands clean. Yup, this means mints and hand sanitizer.
  12. Throw some deodorant and a comb/brush into your bag while you’re at it. You might not get a chance to go back to your room and freshen up.
  13. Have your phone charger (or a portable battery charger) available at all times. And pack a couple of AA batteries for your mouse.
  14. Last but not least…Say thank you. A lot of people have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the event a success. When you see the show staff running around, take a minute to thank them.

C’mon, did you really think I’d leave the list at 14?

  1. Know where you’re staying! Grab a business card from the front desk. Put the address in your phone. Write it on your hand. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just make sure you know where you’re hotel is!

What are some of your trade show survival tips? Tweet them to me @joannegore121.

See more posts by Joanne

JoanneGore_PrintMediaCentrJoanne Gore is the Director of Marketing for Avanti and a monthly contributor to Print Media Centr’s News From The Printerverse. She has nearly three decades of B2B marketing and communications experience, including corporate and small office environments. Joanne develops lead generation and conversion programs, re-brands product lines, implements social media strategies, manages PR and media relations campaigns, overhauls websites, develops highly targeted marketing campaigns, and delivers results. Joanne is an industry presenter, currently sits on the board of Xplor International, is the President of Xplor Canada, and is a returning mentor for the Ontario Summer Company, a Government initiative for youth entrepreneurship and employment. She graduated as a Graphic Designer and, prior to joining the corporate world, worked in the print industry as an art director, typesetter, and printing consultant. Joanne is a marketing geekette by day, a fitness instructor by night, and a mom 24-7.

Contact Joanne at and follow her on Twitter: @JoanneGore121

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