Make the most of your Trade Show experience

Each year, companies fill more than 600 booths in the Trade Show, offering essential products and services that school districts need to succeed. The Trade Show offers an outstanding opportunity for board members and administrators to meet with hundreds of exhibitors displaying everything from air filtration systems, appraisal services and insurance to transportation services, curriculum packages and the latest technology. Here’s some advice to help you make the most of the Trade Show.

Preparation is key

With so many options, it’s important to make the most of your time during the two-day extravaganza. First, enter the Trade Show prepared by knowing what your district needs. For example, is your district looking for new buses or roofing, or perhaps, new computers? The purchasing options are endless but you can spend your time effectively by knowing what to look for.

Proper planning

Use the Conference Guide to make a list of exhibitors whose booths you want to visit so you’re prepared when the Trade Show doors open. The Conference Guide features an alphabetical list of exhibitors with their company descriptions and booth numbers, as well as vendors listed by product category. This will help you to sort out your search. Don’t forget to use the note section in the back of the Conference Guide to list what exhibitors you want to visit and what questions to ask them.

Take your time

Next, be sure to take your time with each exhibitor and remember to ask the questions you jotted down earlier. Rushing through the show will limit your opportunities and discourage vendors who’ve organized their representatives and impressive displays to speak with you about your district’s needs.

Tuesday will be the busiest day at the show, so be sure to do your intensive comparison shopping on Monday when the aisles are less crowded.

Information exchange

Don’t forget to bring business cards to swap with exhibitors so they can easily reach you after the show. Bring business cards for your district’s department heads — food service, business, transportation, curriculum, technology and others — to give vendors the opportunity to follow up after the show.

Make notes on any important details exhibitors share with you. Before the close of the show on Tuesday, review your notes to ensure you’ve covered everything you’ve set out to find.

Finally, take time to thank exhibitors you speak with for being part of the Trade Show and sharing their information with you. Exhibitors always appreciate feedback from the customers they serve.

Passport stations, raffles and more

The Trade Show also features raffles that give you a chance to win valuable prizes for your district. Attendees will receive a Trade Show passport with their registration materials. Download the 2015 passport map.

In order to be eligible to win a raffle, your passport must be stamped at eight locations in the exhibit hall. Fully stamped passports may then be deposited in the bin at the back of Hall C by the Trade Show office.

Drawings will take place throughout Monday and Tuesday. Winners will be listed at the Information Station, Trade Show Office, next to the raffle bin and announced in the Trade Show. Consult your Conference Guide for each day’s passport stops.

Other Trade Show highlights

• Two Relaxation Stations, providing complimentary back massages, manicures, shoe shines, blood pressure screening and therapeutic foot massages. The stations are in aisles 100 and 1500.

• The OSBA Kids PAC station, located in booths 122 and 124, will feature a silent auction. While you’re there, take time to learn more about OSBA legislative efforts and how you can support those efforts.

• Food and beverages can be purchased at the Trade Show Café (located at the rear of aisle 900).

Make the 2015 Trade Show an essential part of your Capital Conference experience. It may turn out to be the best investment you’ve ever made for your district and students.

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