How to get the most out of a cosmetic industry meeting or trade show

As a cosmetic chemist you are presented with ample opportunities to go to trade shows. It seems there is some kind of meeting going on every month. Trade shows and industry meetings are a great chance to meet lots of people, learn during excellent talks, socialize and even meet cosmetic science celebrities. When done right they are a lot of fun.

While industry meetings can be fun, they are even better when you make them productive. Remember your time is valuable and these meetings can help you solve problems at work, come up with new ideas, and even advance your career. Follow these steps to make your next cosmetic industry trade show productive.

1. Figure out what you need. Sure, a cosmetic science meeting is an excellent place to learn new things but you can do that by reading books, watching videos, and taking courses. If you are going to attend a trade show or scientific seminar you should strive to get more out of it. Make a list of things you want to accomplish. People you want to meet, questions you want answers to, or connections to people who can help you. Basically, go into the event with a plan.

2. Do research. While you’re figuring out what you need, take a look at who is going to be there. Who are the speakers, which companies will be there, who will be exhibiting. This will help you determine who you will meet and where you will spend your time. Typically, meetings have a website which lists the program, speakers, and companies. Go online to help with your research.

3. Plan what you’re going to do. Next plan how you will spend your time. If you can, list the names of people you want to talk to and figure out 1 key thing that you want to get answered from them. Begin with one thing but note that the conversation might expand to cover more questions that you have. Just make sure you know the one thing you’re looking to get answered.

4. Connect with people. Once you’ve got your list of people / companies you want to talk to, go seek them out. Do not get distracted by talking with your friends (you can see them later). Go meet the people you are at the meeting to meet. Invite them out for a drink (or coffee). Or just talk to them whenever you get a chance. Remember your time is valuable as is their’s.

5. Learn to leave conversations. Steer the conversation to your main topic. Don’t be afraid to interrupt and get right to your point, politely of course. Using the excuse that you have another meeting is effective.

6. Meet with people after the main meetings. Since most people are busy during the meetings, it’s often useful to connect with them after the main meetings. Meeting at a bar is particularly helpful. People who have a few drinks are a lot more open with information. If you don’t drink or like to attend night events you are at a massive disadvantage.

Bottom line. Trade shows and scientific meetings are great events to attend for cosmetic chemists. They can be lots of fun and you can meet people who can help solve problems and advance your career. But be sure to plan your trip and figure out exactly what you want to get out of it. It will be much more productive if you do.

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