100,000+ square feet. 320+ exhibitors. 4 pavilions. 40+ conference sessions. Tours. On-floor talks. Panels. Awards. LightFair 2022 will be packed with 5 days of inspiration, education and exploration. Not to mention the best part of it all for the vast majority of those who attend – getting to meet lighting friends, colleagues, clients, customers and partners to connect, collaborate, build relationships… and just catch up. This year will likely be the first LightFair for many since 2019. As you head to the Las Vegas Convention Center June 19-23, 2022, put some thought into what you’d like to take away and make a plan for a productive LightFair.
Engaging in Meaningful Networking That Actually Works
While product discovery and earning CEUs are key aspects of LightFair, networking is at the center of it all. Making new friends, meeting old ones. Connecting with experts and thought leaders. Sharing ideas, passing along business and career opportunities, reaching out to potential and past customers. Networking may come easily and naturally to some, and not so much to others. Balancing product discovery with education and networking at a large show like LightFair may also prove to be overwhelming for some. How do you ensure you don’t miss what matters?
We’ve collected some handy expert tips from pros who’ve been there, done that and can teach you a few tricks about getting trade show networking and discovery right. We’ve put together some additional ideas and suggestions to help you maximize your time at LightFair.
Plan your day/s
Download the LightFair app. Familiarize yourself with the LightFair schedule and floor plan. Use the Show Planner tool to save your sessions, favorite exhibitors, scheduled booth meetings and notes. Our new Appointment Scheduler tool allows you to book dedicated time with your highest priority exhibitors. Shortlist the on-floor sessions you want to attend and the tours you want to take. Make sure you have some unscheduled time for impromptu networking and to check out any additional sessions and booths that draw you in.
Managing Editor, LD+A
- One of the first pieces of advice I received for managing time at LightFair remains one of the best pieces of advice several years later. That is: build in time for walking between booths or appointments. Back-to-back booth meetings may sound like the most effective approach, but booths can be far apart. I try to work in 10-15 minutes between appointments. People will thank you for being on time, and your feet will thank you for the momentary rest.
- Speaking of feet, comfortable shoes are key to a successful LightFair experience.
- Say “yes” to impromptu networking opportunities and social events when they pop up. The unscheduled conversations and social events often lead to unexpected relationships that can fuel future collaboration.
Take advantage of the Pre-Conference
The LightFair Pre-Conference offers what few other industry events do – two days dedicated to immersive, in-depth education prior to the opening of the trade show. Choose from 3-hour, one-day and two-day courses to equip yourself professionally and earn the credits you need. In the process, you will get to network with some of the industry’s most renowned experts – researchers, thought leaders and innovators. This will be an excellent opportunity to connect with them and expand your professional network. Plus, since these two days are exclusively dedicated to education, you won’t have to worry about missing booth appointments or curated pavilion tours.
At the lectures, introduce yourself to your neighbor – you already have something in common since you are both already interested in the presentation topic.Lee Brandt IALD, MIES, LC, Principal, HLB Lighting Design
Angela Cominos Koehler (Angie)
“Try new classes. Learn something out of your comfort zone. Be open to new experiences. Connection may be found where you least expect it.”
Join Angie’s Yoga: Breathwork, Meditation and Gentle Movement sessions at 11 am on June 21 and June 22, 2022. No separate registration required for the session; first-come, first served availability.
Prioritize sessions and events aligned with your interests
A little bit of homework goes a long way in helping you get the most out of your time here.
LightFair’s on-floor and conference schedule is pretty packed but don’t let that overwhelm you. Take some time before the show to narrow down your focus areas for this year’s event. Make note of the highlights. Passionate about diversity and inclusion in the lighting industry? Attend the Spotlight on the Queer Experience with Alana Shepherd of the NACLIQ (North Amercian Coalition of Lighting Industry Queers) where veterans from different corners of the lighting and design world share their perspectives as LGBTQ professionals. Also don’t miss the WILD Speaks! session on June 22, 2022 at 4 pm about building diversity in the lighting industry pipeline led by Lois Hutchinson (Inverse Square), Lauren Dandridge (Chromatic), Colleen Peach (Arup), Jill Cody (Dark Light Design), followed by their networking event at 5 pm. Want to learn about contract negotiation? Be sure to attend the all-day LightFair Pre-Conference session on June 20, 2022 with Eliot Wagonheim. Interested in mentorship? Catch the Mentorship Panel on June 23, 2022 at 10:30 am. This panel discussion moderated by Sam Koerbel (Lytei) will feature the 2022 mentors and mentees with participation from the 2021 class.
The booths are a great place to network and meet people. The factories have amazing product to show and the exhibitors are ready to chat. Also, there will be plenty of other attendees in the booth – introduce yourself and join with others – it is more fun to walk the floor with a person or two.Lee Brandt IALD, MIES, LC, Principal, HLB Lighting Design
You don’t have to navigate the floor alone. Join one of our many tours led by experts handpicked for their experience and expertise in that category. You’ll also get to interact with other attendees and compare notes – an easy and productive way to connect. If this is your first time at LightFair, definitely plan to join the New Attendee Orientation and Tour led by Carla Bukalski and Lisa Reed. Pavilion tours help you discover products and manufacturers in each category with tour guides sharing their insights along the way. The tour of the LightFair Innovation Awards winners led by Mark Roush helps you cover the year’s most shining examples of innovation and excellence across 14 categories. The Best Booth Awards tour led by Ron Kurtz stops at the booths that went the extra mile to make their products more easily discoverable. Tours don’t require a separate registration – if you are already registered for the conference or the exhibit hall, it includes all tours.
Peter Hugh IALD, IES
President, Hugh Lighting Design LLC
- Try to look at fixtures of a type (linear/downlights/floodlights) in one swoop, then move to another type. This allows a better mental comparison of quality and performance against each other.
- Take notes!!! Use your voice recorder to record highlights and lowlights as you see fixtures.
- Don’t be afraid to ask exhibitors to turn off adjoining fixtures so that you get a better idea of the performance.
- Get down on your knees if you have to but see the fixture in the point of view that it would be used and observed.
Don’t Miss On-Floor Events
Catch the talks, panel discussions and awards events taking place in our on-floor locations – The Designery, LightFair LIVE, TEK Talks, Outdoor Exchange. These are more informal and interactive opportunities to learn, earn CEUs and/or network with presenters and fellow attendees. Ask questions. Add to the discussion. Connect with the presenters on social media and let them know how much you enjoyed their sessions. When possible, plan your schedule to cover all the booths you want to see in the same area as the sessions you are attending. This way you can minimize walking back and forth between show floor sections. On-floor sessions don’t require a separate registration – if you are already registered for the conference or the exhibit hall, it includes all on-floor events.
Lee Brandt IALD, MIES, LC
Principal, HLB Lighting Design
- If one of your reps is attending, have them walk you around to the booths of the factories they represent – they will introduce you to other attendees and the factories.
- This is the lighting industry – we are all friendly. Don’t be shy and just introduce yourself!
Angelica Santana has two simple tips to beat it.
Lighting Designer, CM Kling + Associates
Founder, Union Yoga
Sleep well! Networking takes a lot of energy and with so many opportunities at Lightfair for it, you want to make sure to refresh and reboot with a good night’s sleep.
Stay present! When connecting with people, make an effort to listen and stay focused in the moment.