Querétaro is one of Mexico's fastest growing culture and economic centers and was the site of the 50th World Trade Centers Association's General Assembly where Arkansas companies had the chance to do business-to-business meetings with foreign companies to expand their international market access.
Arkansas companies do B2B matchmaking at World Trade Centers General Assembly in Mexico
April 18, 2019
Rep. Steve Womack visits with Tasha Sinclair of Lycus, Ltd.,Flip Kindberg of SkyGenie and Steve Cherry of Kanooler Products before the trade briefing at the World Trade Center Arkansas in Rogers.
Rep. Steve Womack briefs Arkansas companies on USMCA, trade at World Trade Center
April 23, 2019
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How to Make the Most of the Export Fair this May (and pretty much any other networking event)

How to Make the Most of the Export Fair this May

and pretty much any networking event

We’re getting super excited about the Export Fair on May 7th! This is the first event of our 2019 Summer Export Series and now that we’re only two weeks away, we wanted to give you some tips on how to really make the most of an event like this.

As a reminder, this event is designed to help you supercharge your international sales by positioning you in front of successful exporters and organizations with the resources necessary to help you export – resources that range from the tangible, like export credit, to the intangible like small business consulting.

We are also hosting five experts and experienced professionals who will each give a micro-workshop on a specific topic that is vital for successful international commerce.

Many have already RSVP’d for the Fair so if you haven’t yet signed up, send our trade director Denise Thomas an email and tell her you want to join!

So let’s jump on in. We came up with nine strategies you can utilize as you participate in the Fair to help you get the most out of the experience.


1. Do your homework before coming.


This can take several forms but for starters, take a look at the micro-workshop topics and make note of which areas will be of interest to you. Then familiarize yourself with the persons or organizations that will be giving the talks. There are links to each of these on the Summer Series webpage. Also: have a plan. You can write out three concrete goals or specific outcomes that you want to accomplish. These could be “schedule an appointment with an export credit official” or “find ways to learn more about intellectual property.” This gives you direction and purpose. You can always make adjustments later.


2. Connect with the speakers and experts beforehand.


You’ve already done some homework so this shouldn’t be too hard. Most of our speakers will really appreciate those who make the extra effort to reach out to them and get to know them by asking a few preliminary questions. This will almost always yield fruitful results in terms of your network and if you’re intentional with them during the Fair you will typically walk away with a new friend or colleague. This will help you get a better idea of what to expect during the fair and will help inform the way you execute the following tactics.


3. Know your company and your brand.


You will be speed networking with multiple people and organizations so break out your elevator speech and wipe the dust off. Be sure that, in addition to who you are and what you have to offer, communicate what you are looking for so that people will know how to position themselves to help you. At the very least give enough information that will allow others to ask good follow-up questions so that you can communicate your biggest needs in a tactful way.


4. Bring business cards.


This is a no brainer and yet it comes as a surprise each time we reach into our pockets and grasp thin air. How often to we find ourselves cursing because we forgot to load our holders with new cards?  Bring at least 20 to 25 business cards that you can give to people you intend to follow up with or wish to stay connected to.


5. Invite your colleagues and coworkers.


We almost don’t want to include this one because we don’t want to sound desperate for attendees. Trust us, we’re comfortable with the number of registrants (though we’re happy to have more!) but what we hate more than anything is a full house with awkward silences. We’re pretty sure this won’t happen but consider the fact that we could all use a little bit more confidence when we walk into any networking event. Having a colleague or coworker – a familiar body – will help you be more secure and confident when approaching people you don’t know. Also, with more participants we expect better dialogue and richer Q&A sessions during the workshops – after all, another person might see something you don’t and ask the right questions to the benefit of all.


6. Ask questions, take notes.


Self-explanatory. This touches on No. 1 a little bit but we also want to encourage you to not feel shy during the workshops. Have you ever been in a seminar and one of the other participants asks the question you really want answered? Just put that in reverse. Other people are going to be really thankful when you contribute by asking informed questions which help you (and them) solve a specific problem. Don’t worry about being impolite or dominating the Q&A session – this rarely happens and chances are if you are having doubts about that, you’re not the type of person to let that happen. Lastly, take notes! You are going to be learning from very experienced professionals with a lot of great info to share. You won’t want it to go to waste by forgetting the things you learned or the names of specific resources that could help you later.


7. Be social with social media.


Don’t forget to capitalize on events like this to build your professional digital brand. Any sort of event like this is great fodder for the social media beasts which demand content and frequent use. If there’s a speaker you really like or you make a great connection, grab a photo with them and post about it. Share why you’re happy to meet them and how they helped you – this is great for their brand, too, so don’t forget to ask them for their Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter handles – and use that @ key! In addition to this, check in at locations and tag the World Trade Center Arkansas as well – this will increase the chances of engagement which helps your ratings. Tag us and we will definitely share and retweet. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn via @WTCArkansas.


8. Find a mentor.


Obviously not a personal life mentor, but if that is the outcome of this particular strategy then great! What we have in mind is someone who may have faced the same business challenges you are currently facing and have found ways to overcome them. If you can find someone like this, then offer to take them to lunch and make your intentions clear: that you are seeking their advice. So take stock of some of your biggest challenges right now and make an effort to find someone who can help you overcome these challenges.


9. Schedule follow-ups and follow through with them.


We are willing to bet countless partnerships and business initiatives have been lost due to the lack of commitment and follow though. In fact we see it all the time. The sad truth is that we all can find decent reasons not to go to the lunch today that we scheduled last week with that one prospect who might help us out by then end of the year. We work in the world of B2B partnerships and many of our biggest accomplishments are made through leveraging relationships that we have taken the time to cultivate and invest in. We see this very often and what’s really disappointing is that where two parties may see only vague uncertainties, we can often see the concrete potential for incredible enterprise – if only the two parties could get in a room with each other and follow through. Chances are you’re a busy person whose time is valuable. But if you took the initiative to schedule a meeting with someone, chances are you saw some value in doing so. That value is still there it’s just less exciting now that a few days have passed. Don’t use enthusiasm as a litmus test for value and instead rely on your initial decision which was likely well thought out to begin with.


So that’s it! Thanks for taking the time to follow along and we expect fruitful outcomes for you if you take advantages of any one of these tips! If you haven’t RSVP’s then contact Denise Thomas to do so now. We look forward to seeing you at the Fair!