A few months back, I invited Concrete Surfaces readers to take our reader survey — to help us get to know you and your reading habits better. As a “bonus” question, we also asked survey participants what advice they would give to those entering the industry. Other than a few smart-alecky “run away” and “go to college, become a doctor” comments, we received enough valuable advice to share here (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

Although we’ve streamlined the list of comments to eliminate redundancy and remove the amusing yet not very useful advice (“Pray for good weather!”), you’ll still find that there’s a lot of emphasis on training, learning the industry, and staying informed about the latest products and techniques.

I’ve taken what you’ve said and combined it with my own experiences to compile my top four reasons to attend a trade show:

Networking galore. This is your chance to meet others in the industry, make contacts, share ideas, learn from each other, and maybe even check out the competition. If it’s a larger show, like the World of Concrete, trade associations will also use the convention as an opportunity to hold onsite meetings or informal events for members.

Product demos. You can learn about the latest and greatest offerings as well as do one-stop comparison shopping right there on the exhibit floor. Face-to-face time with manufacturers and current or potential suppliers is also a great benefit.

Learning opportunities. Seminars, workshops, certification courses, hands-on demonstrations, a chance to meet and learn from industry experts, need I say more?

A working vacation! Well, sort of. Most trade shows also provide social events, and a lot of the larger shows offer both industry-specific and sightseeing tours. If you’re lucky, the show will take place in a really cool location!

Have I sold you on the value of attending trade shows yet? If not, check out footage from this year’s International Concrete Polishing & Staining Conference, which took place in September. Plus, here’s footage of outdoor exhibits and events from the 2013 World of Concrete, which includes Concrete Surfaces' very own Decorative Pavilion and Artistry in Decorative Concrete Demonstrations.