Tradeshow and Exhibit Thoughtleaders
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and the dissemination of truth."

John F. Kennedy

Susan Friedmann's Articles

Do Your Homework to Ensure Tradeshow Success

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Have you done your homework? You might think thatís a strange question, especially if the schoolyard is far behind you. Yet now, with your next event rapidly approaching, itís the ideal time to ask if youíve done your homework. Are you really, really prepared to do the show? Have you covered every contingency?

Have you even thought of every contingency?

There have been a stream of incidents in the tradeshow world lately, some more high profile than others, that point clearly to the fact that somebody, somewhere, dropped the ball and didnít complete the required assignment. Some of the work that was supposed to happen behind the scenes was never completed -- leaving booth staffers holding the bag and exhibitors with egg on their faces.

Want some examples? Iíve left the names off of these, youíll notice. Thereís two reasons for this: to protect the interested parties from any undue embarrassment, for one -- and perhaps more importantly, to highlight that these are the types of situation that could happen to anyone, anywhere, if they too fail to do their homework.

Scenario One: The New Product Launch

A major industry player, about to introduce a new product thatís been the center of speculation for months. Itís a large item, the type thatís impressive -- but not easy -- to demonstrate. The decision is made to undertake the cost, effort, and expense needed to ship a demonstration model to the convention site and show it off to the attendees. Everything goes fine -- until itís time to set up the show and itís discovered that the show facility wiring isnít adequate to support the tremendous power needs of the demonstration model! 

Scenario Two: Panic at the Podium

Like many organizations, Company X wanted to raise their visibility and enhance their brand by hiring a speaker to perform at their industry show. A Ďbig nameí industry professional with a reputation for being reclusive agreed to participate -- only to change his mind halfway through the event and become sullen and ill-tempered, bickering with the other guests onstage and even the audience.

Scenario Three: Dude, Whereís My Exhibit?

The team at the last show didnít manage to get the exhibit broken down in a timely fashion, so itís sitting on a loading dock in Dayton and the team for the Boston show is looking at an empty space and twiddling their thumbs.

In each of these instances, homework was the answer. A little research done ahead of time would have allowed time for show management to accommodate special wiring requirements. Ten minutes on Google could have red-flagged the troubled speaker, and time reinforcing the value of meeting any and all show deadlines could have prevented the last problem entirely. 

So make sure youíve done your homework. Thereís more than good grades on the line! 

© 2012 by Susan Friedmann