Road Warrior Tips for Trade Show Stamina

December 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Conducting business at a trade show, expo, or conference requires a different level of energy than a routine road warrior business trip. You’ll spend two, three, even four days on your feet, talking to dozens of people, constantly walking back and forth, usually while trying to keep up with work at home.

If you’re not careful, even the strongest road warrior reserves can be tapped, leaving you ineffective and unproductive. Here are some tips I’ve collected from colleagues, as well as lessons learned from my own experiences. Following these can help you feel and perform at your best.

A trade show floor can be the size of several football fields, which will wear out even the fittest road warrior.

A trade show floor can be the size of several football fields, which will wear out even the fittest road warrior.

  • Find the most comfortable shoes your company’s dress code will allow. You’re going to be standing and walking eight to fourteen hours each day, and you won’t be able to go the distance if you don’t have good shoes. If you can’t wear a well-cushioned shoe, invest in insoles to help your feet bear up under the pressure.
  • You won’t make the best impression if the first question you ask a vendor or a client when you meet up is, “Do you have an outlet where I could plug in my phone?” Be sure to invest in a portable battery so you aren’t distracted from your purpose by your search for power. Make sure you recharge the battery each night, even if you only use it for a little while.
  • Pack your business essentials — contracts, important documents — in your carry-on so you can conduct business without having to wait for your bag or some other shipment from the home office. You can probably get by with using cloud storage for your electronic files, but sometimes hard copies are easier to manage, especially if the conference wifi is as slow as molasses.
  • Take care of yourself, and be mindful of your body’s needs. You’ll be going full throttle, so plan your schedule to give yourself a few moments to recharge. Do what you know helps you feel your best. You may need to eat by yourself, or take a quick walk outside to get some fresh air and sunshine. Even a short nap back in your room can recharge your batteries and prepare you for the long business dinner at the end of the evening.
  • Prioritize rest! After a full day of talking, thinking, and walking, you may think you deserve to relax with colleagues or friends over a big meal. Trust me, you’ll pay the next day and the more days in a row you do this, the more you’ll suffer. Resist the urge to stay out late or eat heavy after a full day on the floor.
  • Lastly, pack a small survival kit with pain relievers, throat lozenges, hand sanitizer (you’ll be shaking a lot of hands), a couple Band-Aids, and blister care supplies, and make sure you drink plenty of water.

How do you survive trade shows and conferences? Do you have any road warrior tricks to keep comfortable or recover quickly? Let us hear from you in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Pattymooney (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)

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