The Care Show is a two day show held over two days in Birmingham in November, Bournemouth in March, Paris in May (I love Paris in the Springtime!) and Shanghai in August. I was lucky enough to go to the most exotic of these locations - Birmingham of course!
If you've never been to the Care Show, we would recommend going at least once to see what is going on in the sector. Here's our tips for making the most of your time there:
- Check out the website and get a feel for the companies that will be exhibiting and what seminars are on - if there is a specific seminar you would like to attend, you can make sure you book to go on that day
- Register prior to the show, this means you will get your badge through the post and there is no waiting when you arrive
- Work your schedule around any seminars you have decided to attend - you can see the exhibitors at any time
- Travel by train if possible. It is SO much easier, and means you can work on the way down and on the way back. It is a quick and easy walk from the train station to the exhibition halls in the NEC
- Food is over priced in the hall, and more importantly it is busy so you can waste time standing around trying to get some food. We suggest you either eat on the train down or buy something in one of the places on the walk between the train station and the exhibition hall (although these places are still over priced, the queue is usually shorter)
- Take a few minutes to have a look through the exhibition guide before you walk around. Check out exactly what you want to see and mark them on the map - this means you will use your time most efficiently and only spend your time talking to the people you need to talk to
- If there are a couple of you and lots of exhibitors to see, split them. If you want to find out information in some detail, give yourself at least 30 minutes per exhibitor as you will need time to walk between them, find them and wait to speak to someone
- If two exhibitors are near each other, don't wait to talk to someone, come back in a little while when they are free
- If any of your current suppliers are exhibiting, say hello! Having good relationships with suppliers is really useful, especially for those times you've got a sudden urgent order. Building relationships by saying hello face-to-face is part of making sure you're one of their customers who gets priority
- Shows are normally very quiet later on in the day, so if you are able to stay to the end, this is when you will be able to talk to people easily - they only exception is on the final day - lots of exhibitors will start to pack up early (even though they are told not to!)
- Take lots of business cards - its the easiest and quickest way to give people your contact details
- Make notes on the back on business cards are given to you, this will help you to remind you of conversations you had when at the show
- On the train back, go through all the stuff you have been given and sort it into stuff of interest and stuff that isn't of interest. Recycle the stuff that isn't of interest before it even gets to the office!