Trade shows offer lots of things to attendees. We all know they offer a place to buy and sell. Shows provide a face to face opportunity to network with other professionals in your field. There is another opportunity that TNNA shows have offered for years that everyone attending should take advantage of: the fellowship of food.
I am not a foodie. I don't live to eat, but I need to eat during a show. I can go out to dinner at night, but I rarely have time for much else. Some of my show fees have been used to provide food at TNNA events. Since I paid for it, I consider what is served to be "my" food.
You can find lots of food events to keep you going at the show if you know the schedule. On the first morning of the show there is breakfast food. The TNNA evening events offer a variety of nibbles. This year at San Diego, TNNA offered something new - a Saturday and Sunday Happy Hour on the show floor. As with most new things, some people liked it, some were skeptical. I wandered over to the members lounge to see what was happening and to check out "my" food. What I saw there were groups of people talking to each other. That little boost of food and fellowship got the shoppers, and some exhibitors, through the last hours of the day. I liked this new option for food and fellowship.
I know that food with fellowship does make a difference. Many years ago, as a brand new exhibitor, I was looking for a place to sit and eat when a very nice lady asked me to join her. I found out later that she was one of the leading professionals in my industry. I didn't even know who she was when I was talking with her. To me, she was just a person who asked me to share her time and table. I will never forget her kindness in making me feel welcome in a strange new world.
The time for food and fellowship quickly passes at a show, but the fellowship of food is an opportunity worth participating in.
Claudia Dutcher is owner of Dutch Treat Designs and serves on the TNNA Board of Directors