April 16 is the first day of the 2015 Clean Show at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, and soon thousands of laundry-industry representatives will descend on the convention to check out over 400 exhibits, panels, demonstrations and other exciting events.
While there are plenty of reasons to attend the Clean Show, American Laundry News asked around to find out the main reasons for attendance this year. In its “Your Views” survey, respondents were vocal about the exhibits and networking opportunities at the Clean Show.
According to American Laundry News, 15.2 percent of respondents cited networking as the key reason for attendance, followed by educational sessions at 8.7 percent. A variety of other answers rounded out the survey. However, networking and the exhibits were at least two of the reasons given for more than half of all survey respondents.
Given the importance of networking to the Clean Show, it is a must to know how to get the most out of the four-day event this spring. Here are a few ways in which you can network effectively at the event:
Find another reason to attend
Networking can’t be the only reason you want to attend the Clean Show. Networking for networking’s sake is a bad look, and most attendees will see right through you. You will come across as desperate, and this will make it harder to truly connect. Instead, go for another reason.
The Clean Show has many fantastic events and opportunities, and you should take advantage of them. Let networking happen organically while there.
Provide value to others
The last thing you want to do at the Clean Show is reach out to only people who can help you. Networking is a two-way street – don’t try to connect unless you can offer something in return. The more value you provide, the more likely the other person is to remain in touch.
The idea of “value” is an important way to turn networking into connecting. Both parties have something to gain, so both of you will be more inclined to chat. There is no value in exchanging business cards, finding each other on LinkedIn and never talking again. Make sure your networking is beneficial to all those involved.
Share your business cards
Does your laundry business have its own cards? If not, you may want to pick some up before the Clean Show. As you go around the convention, you’ll find yourself in plenty of opportunities to share business cards. Not having one can make it harder to network during the event.
A good business card has:
- Your name and business
- Your contact information
- Your social media accounts
- Your business’ website
Remember, don’t force the business card on someone. Wait for a natural moment in your conversation to exchange.
Talk to everyone
Everyone at the Clean Show could be the person you need to meet. Keep this in mind as you walk around the Georgia World Congress Center. Don’t just target panelists and exhibitors. You never know who is standing next to you unless you strike up a conversation.
With this in mind, assume that you can be of value to everyone at the Clean Show. It never hurts to make friends with someone who may not benefit your business right now – you never know what you’ll need in the future. Plus, you could be sitting right next to the person you’ve been dying to meet.
As you gear up for the 2015 Clean Show, remember the merits of strong networking. There will be thousands of attendees from all across the country, so get ready to mingle with some of the best in the laundry business.