When we’re at a business exhibition or conference we may be tempted to pick up all the free samples that are on offer, just because they’re there and they’re free.

This tactic, whilst it seems good at the time, will result in an awful lot of clutter.

Eco-friendly cloth bags, reams of leaflets, stacks of pencils, promotional T shirts, sheaves of mouse mats; the list could go on almost indefinitely.

We’ve all seen people who are so intent on stocking up with this kind of thing, that they barely have time to talk to anyone!

Don’t Pick it Up Just Because it’s There

Cease this pointless activity at once and try to remember why you’re there in the first place.

I imagine that your original intention when booking your place was to meet people in your industry and make meaningful contact with them, to promote your company or product, or to learn about new developments in your field.

Are any of these aims furthered by picking up the aforementioned clutter? Probably not.

Leaflets may be useful in learning about who was there and what they do. Pencils and pens are undoubtedly useful.

But how many mouse mats or cloth bags can anyone really need? How many people actually wear a T shirt with someone else’s logo on?

So go easy on the pick-ups. Pick up knowledge, pick up interesting people, pick up business cards; but leave the rest!

Hotels Are For Sleeping In

The hotel you stay in, if your conference or exhibition is in another city, can be another great source of clutter too.

People tend to collect shampoo sachets, cute little bars of soap, mini hand creams, tea and coffee sachets and other paraphanalia.

Your hotel isn’t intended to supply your toiletry needs for the next six months. It’s meant for sleeping in, because it’s too far to go home!

How many hotel sachets do you have at home in your bathroom already? Do you ever use them? If you’re like most people then you don’t.

You just reach for your normal shampoo bottle, normal sized soap, or coffee jar.

Sleep in the hotel and leave the samples behind. You have enough clutter to drag around with you already.

People Clutter

This may sound harsh, but people can be clutter too. Even the people you know and like.

Let’s review the reasons why you attended this conference or exhibition in the first place. To gain new knowledge about your industry, to promote your company or product, and to meet new and useful contacts.

At conferences people often bump into groups of friends or associates that they already know well, and then spend the entire time talking to them.

There are people flocking all around them who they have never met; just passing by. These strangers are a goldmine of potential information, knowledge and rich relationships.

And yet there they go, unmolested, unknown and untapped. What a waste! If you’re going to spend the entire day, or even week, talking to people you already know than you might as well have saved yourself the ticket price and stayed at home.

At a conference people you already know well are clutter. Be polite, be friendly, but don’t monopolise them or allow them to monopolise you.

Branch out and talk to new people, and who knows what amazing contacts, relationships and knowledge could be your reward.

Gain Knowledge Not Clutter

There you have it. The way to benefit most from your conference.

Gain knowledge, contacts and a good night’s sleep. Not mouse mats, bags and soap samples.

There are rich rewards for those who can focus on the real reasons that they are there, and a car full of clutter for those who can’t.