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So Your In-Person Tradeshow Has Been Cancelled…

10 tips on making the most of your virtual tradeshow experience.

CEDIA Expo 2019 Opening Day
Photo by John Staley.

Like most things in 2020, this year’s CEDIA Expo will be very different from previous events. For starters, you feet won’t hurt at the end of the day and you can experience the entire thing in your pajamas. For all the changes a virtual event brings, some things remain the same, including the education, networking, and new product introductions at exhibitor booths.

To help you get the most out of any virtual tradeshow, but especially CEDIA Expo, we’ve put together these 10 tips. For deeper insight into the show, check out our CEDIA Expo Companion 2020 eBook, which is available by clicking here.

  1. Treat it like real tradeshow. You may only be traveling to your home office or kitchen table, but to get the most out of the virtual event, treat it as though you just got off the red-eye and are rushing toward the convention center to make it to the keynote on time. Well, maybe not that real, but, at the very least, make sure you’ve turned on your out-of-office email reply so people know your attention will be focused elsewhere. Don’t forget to plan out your day.
  2. Plan your day(s) in advance. Yes, planning was mentioned in #1, but it is vital enough to get its own entry. Prior to showtime, choose the sessions you want to attend and virtual booths you’d like to visit, make (and keep!) appointments with key contacts, and manage your time properly.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the virtual event platform. Each event has its own platform, and most shows will offer a tutorial video or a show preview to help you get acclimated before the event begins. This will save some time and confusion on the day of the event.
  4. Keep a pen and paper nearby. Yes, the Notes option on your phone works, too, but the takeaway here is that you will be having a lot of information thrown at you throughout the event, and you will want to take notes on the important points and the things you want to follow up on.
  5. Participate in chats. Ask a question, greet a colleague — just as in the real world, interaction with peers is how you learn, get ahead, and make new connections.
  6. Educate yourself. If your kids can use the home as a classroom, you can, too. Take advantage of the show’s educational opportunities to learn a new skill, get certified, or grab some business advice.
  7. Have fun. Sure, virtual happy hours are really just more time in front of your computer, but the casual setting makes for a different feel compared to the formal industry programming. Tune in and let your hair down with your peers if the opportunity should arise.
  8. Continue the conversation on social media. Use the official show hashtag to post your comments, experiences, and questions, and also use it to see if you’ve missed out on anything you should check out.
  9. Follow up. Act on those notes you’ve taken to make sure you’ve got the data you need to make informed decisions.
  10. Check back in. A huge benefit to virtual tradeshows is that they remain online and open for weeks after the event. If there was too much to see when it was live, log back in and check out what is available on demand.

To register for CEDIA Expo, visit