By Posted in - Professional Development & The Clairemont Team on February 19th, 2014

Today’s blog post comes from Clairemont intern, Sam Halle, who just returned to the US after working a tradeshow in the Netherlands. Keep reading below for more details about her experience attending the largest audiovisual tradeshow in the world and traveling throughout Amsterdam.

Audiovisual innovation surrounded me – 349,409 square feet at that. Music blasted from the latest and greatest speaker systems. Scenic views flashed across various 4K and LED screens. An entire hall showcased videoconference and unified communications providers; another, digital signage; and another, staging rigs, gear and lighting. And, a record-breaking 51,003 attendees were taking note.

Just the other week, I took a break from my North Carolina life to fly to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Donning my title as a reporter for rAVe Publications – a digital news organization that provides coverage of the commercial and residential audiovisual trade industries via e-newsletters, blogs, video, social media and more – I was tasked with contributing to the live coverage of Integrated Systems Europe 2014 tradeshow, the now-largest AV tradeshow in the world.

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From stand setup on Sunday, to breakdown on Thursday, it was a whirlwind of a week with quite a lot to digest.

Here are my tradeshow takeaways:

Have personality and be personable: Simply put, tradeshows are exhausting. Immersed in a world where networking is king, business card exchanges can become repetitive. Accordingly, it’s important to have personality! Taking that extra moment to have a memorable conversation with someone can go a long way, and taking the time to follow up with folks in a personalized fashion can go even further. My tip? Keep a pen with you at all times to jot down need-to-know notes on the back of respective business cards.

Attitude is everything: As the tradeshow progressed – and as my swollen feet grew to hate me at an increasing rate – it was critical that I remain present in all situations and conversations. Thanks to my camp counselor days, the mantra “alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic” played in my head (I may or may not have gotten a C-level executive to sing this song with me). Remain enthusiastic and soak up as much information as you can. Stay alert and capitalize on as many moments as possible. Introduce yourself. Read product descriptions. Watch how other attendees respond to different companies. Then, do another lap around the hall to catch up with those who were otherwise occupied when you initially visited.

Take a second to breathe: Never let professional travel become a burden. Whether you are traveling to the-middle-of-nowhere, Idaho or to Amsterdam, there is always something neat and different to experience. These experiences will not only make you more interesting and easier to talk to during the many small-talk sessions, but they’ll also – more importantly – continue to color your life. So, no matter how tired you are or how much work is left to be completed, take a moment to explore. Eat a wheel of cheese or maybe a stroopwafel. Walk along the canal. Take the more-scenic taxi ride (I promise it’s worth the few euros). Talk to locals. Snap at least a few photos that scream, “I am a tourist!” And, of course, enjoy.

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