By Robyn Davis, Trade Show Strategy Specialist

Trade Show Time ManagementEveryone has the same 24 hours in a day, so how can some people (and, more specifically, some exhibitors) accomplish so much more than others?

The answer is simple: they are more intentional with their time. Though, to be fair, their ability to execute this tactic is a bit more complicated. Here are some tips to get you started:

At a trade show, you may choose to think about time in three big categories: free time (time to yourself), booth time (time when you’re expected to “work your booth”), and networking/activity time (time that’s reserved for structured networking and activities with others at your event).

By dividing your time like this, it’s likely that you’ll see two big areas of opportunity:

1. Time that is in the wrong category.

For example, this may be time that you’ve identified as “free time” for yourself, but should be time that you spend interacting with others – like at meals or when you’re exercising. To be fair, these are activities you can do alone (so don’t feel too bad about miscategorizing them). However, if your goal is to raise awareness for your company or build relationships with others, it would be more productive for you to invite a client, prospect or industry partner to join you.

2. Time that is in the right category, but that you aren’t utilizing efficiently.

Within that same category of “free time,” you’ll need time for grooming and time for sleeping. If you aren’t mindful during each of these efforts, it’s likely that you’re wasting some of the time you’re spending. For example, think about how much time you spend in the shower or trying to fall asleep. By removing distractions and streamlining your processes (creating good habits), could you reduce the time you’re spending on each?

Once you’ve identified these areas of opportunity, the next step is to act upon them. Move the time that’s in the wrong category to the right category (it may help to write out your schedule on a 24-hour chart, so you can see, visually, how you’ll be spending your time and make the necessary adjustments there). Then, focus on using every single second as efficiently as possible.

Note: Although “free time” is the category we used as an example in this article, you can be more productive in the other categories (booth time and networking/activity time), too. If you aren’t sure how, start here: ask your company to offer strategic booth staff training for your team to learn how to improve your “booth time.”

Learn More

Trade Show Strategy Specialist Robyn Davis will be hosting a free 30-minute webinar called “How to be More Strategically Social at Trade Shows” Thursday, Aug. 31  at 1:30 p.m. ET. For more information and registration, visit