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Getting the Most From Your Trade Show Experience

people walking around a convention center
Article Highlights:

  • Discover your goals beforehand to save time and trouble at trade shows.
  • Learn about new products, and network with professionals in the industry.

With the 2022 NADA show closely approaching, many are looking forward to connecting (or reconnecting) in-person with the automotive industry’s best and brightest.

There can be a lot to juggle when it comes to attending any convention—from getting tickets, to reserving a hotel, to navigating your way through crowds—but the last few years have created additional things you need to consider before attending a show or convention.  It is important to make sure that you are following any health and safety requirements, as well as checking admittance policies of the event. All of this can seem like a lot, but there are a few ways to help ensure that your time is well spent when attending in-person expos like the 2022 NADA show.

Plan ahead

It’s extremely beneficial to have an idea of what’s available at any convention before you get there. Online research is essential to this. Discovering what your goals are beforehand can save you a lot of time and trouble upon arrival.

Are you looking for education and new ideas? Shopping for a specific product? Meeting face-to-face with partners? There is no right answer when it comes to what your goals should be at a trade show (and there can be more than one answer), but it is beneficial to be clear with why you are interested in attending.

Before the show, have a list of exhibitors that you definitely want to check out. For certain situations, you may want to proactively schedule a meeting to discuss a specific company or product. This will not only ensure that you are able to hit every booth on your list, but it will save you enough extra time to find that thing you didn’t know you were interested in.

Depending on the specific show you are attending, you may also be able to find an interactive map to help you familiarize yourself with the space, as well as where certain booths are going to be located. Be sure to take advantage of things like this, as they can prevent you from getting lost and wasting time as a result. The NADA show released an app in January 2022 for their March convention, a great resource for both exhibitors and attendees alike.


In today’s world, many events have been pushed online (if not cancelled altogether), so if you are attending an in-person event be sure to take advantage and actively engage with everyone around you in ways that you can’t from a zoom call.

In-person events mean that you have a great opportunity to see live demonstrations and dig into conversations that can be difficult from behind a screen. Trade shows are also a great place for learning about new products and networking with professionals in your industry. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about any companies or products that you are interested in, and leave your contact information with those you may want to have further conversations with. This sort of face-to-face interaction can help you not only establish a personal connection with those around you, but it can help you stand out as well.

Trade shows, among other things, have changed due to the uncertainty that we face in today’s world, but just because we are navigating the hybrid nature of things doesn’t mean that shows have to become more stressful. The 2022 NADA show, among others, can still be safe while offering the educational and opportunistic benefits that they were created for. Making sure that you plan ahead and take advantage of being able to actively engage with those around you can improve your overall trade show experience.

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Mollie is a Marketing Communications Specialist at Reynolds and Reynolds. Since joining the team in 2022, she’s guided initiatives for Reynolds marketing products, produced the Connected podcast, and worked with dealers to collect testimonials and success stories. Mollie received her bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and English from Marietta College. She also obtained an associate’s degree in Marketing from Rhodes State College.

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