March 7, 2013 | POSTED BY | Articles, Events
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International Vision Expo East is fast approaching. For those of you who, like me, are attending as a first timer, it can be a little overwhelming. Where do I start? What do I do when I get there? How can I make the most of this experience? 

Fear not fellow trade show newbies! Below are some things to keep in mind when you cross the threshold into the Javits Center on March 15th for the first time.

1.  Plan Ahead

There are going to be 1,444 exhibitors at Vision Expo East and it is highly unlikely that you will get to all of them. So, prioritize. Go through the list of exhibitors and make a list of those you want to see. This makes it easier for you to map out your route using the interactive floor plan and to allot your time accordingly.

There are going to be so many things to see, people to talk to, and things to do that it is going to be easy to get distracted and before you know it, you will run out of time.  Having everything planned out will help you stay on track.

It will also be a good idea to bring a tote or a messenger bag to hold all of the brochures and goodies that you will accumulate as you make your rounds. Free things are tempting but remember that you are going to have to carry your loot around with you for the better part of the day, so make it easier on yourself by taking only what you actually want.

2.  Dress Appropriately

Trade shows are a hive of activity and you will be moving around a lot. Be practical. Keep it professional but dress for comfort. You know you are going to be walking around all day so wear comfortable shoes.

Warning: do not wear new shoes no matter how comfortable they are, especially those that have not yet been broken in. Of course, you want to look your best, but new shoes can become painful as the day goes on.  Imagine wearing those same shoes for three days.

Wear something fitting but not constraining to ensure maximum mobility. Try to dress in layers as different parts of the venue may become too hot or too cold. An extra sweater can be carried in the tote or messenger bag that you already have with you, all thanks to your amazing planning skills.

3.  Don’t Be Shy

Large crowds can be intimidating and if you are small like me, it can take a while for someone to notice you when you are drowning in a sea of bodies. Do not wait for someone to approach you. Take the initiative. Oftentimes, exhibitors will not know whether you are just quickly browsing, passing by, or waiting to speak with someone, especially if the booth is busy.

If in doubt, smile! This will help you catch someone’s attention.

4.  Conserve Your Energy

Vision Expo East lasts for only a weekend, but it is going to be a busy one. So, pace yourself. In the past, I attended work functions where I would go all out during the first few days, and then end up skipping out on the last bit because I exhausted myself. Avoid being too ambitious with your time by trying to fit everything in. Follow the schedule you made.

And remember to get lots of rest, eat well, and stay hydrated!

5.  Visit OptometryStudents.com!

OptometryStudents.com will be at Vision Expo East, so be sure to come by and meet the Core Leadership Team. There are many exciting things that we want to share with you and some surprises as well. Come by, say hello, ask questions, and get to know us a bit more.

Also, be sure to attend the student party at Luna Lounge at Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square on Saturday, March 16th from 8:00-10:00PM! Come out for good food, good company, and good times. We look forward to seeing you there!