If you're representing your business at a trade show or exhibition, it goes without saying you'll want to look the part personally. Customers aren't going to be impressed if you turn up in a T-shirt and jeans, and nor would you be if you were attending in the same capacity. The chances are you would take your business elsewhere.

As a rough guide, it makes sense to dress one level smarter than the people who you want to become your customers. If you work on the premise that many trade show or exhibition visitors will arrive in smart-casual attire, you want to be wearing a suit or smart dress. Putting on a suit isn't going to earn you scores of new customers. But failing to do so could see you miss out on them.

Being the public face

Remember, you are the personification of the business at these events - its public face. If your staff don't make the effort to look presentable, why should anybody want to give you their custom? You need to protect the image of the company and, where possible, enhance it. Dressing appropriately is a simple but effective way of doing this.

Of course, you also need to choose suitable footwear. This usually means a clean pair of black or brown shoes fully polished. Don't even think about wearing trainers or other casual shoes, unless you're promoting a sportswear brand. Before you set off in the morning, make sure you've got your shoes with you in your luggage. If you're not travelling with them on your feet, they are all too easy to leave behind.

Making 'smart' choices

It's also important to consider the variables, such as the weather, when you attend an exhibition or conference. If it's the hottest day of the year and you're rushing around for hours, you can be forgiven for taking a slightly more pragmatic approach. Rather than sweating profusely while you're trying to promote your products and services, you might want to take your jacket.

Similarly, on rainy days, it's important to remember an overcoat - potentially even a waterproof jacket to keep you dry. Looking like a drowned rat isn't going to help your case when you're pitching to prospective clients. Not to mention the fact you'll feel most uncomfortable wearing a damp suit all day and this might affect your performance.

It's important to dress 'smart' in both senses of the word. You need to wear suitably formal attire and ensure you are well-groomed. But as an exhibitor, you also need to use your intelligence when making clothing choices, to ensure you always look your best.