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Trade Show Secrets

  1. Keep a first aid kit in the crates – it’s not a show without somebody bleeding at some point
  2. A bottle of scotch is good too – a painkiller, and it can be traded to get your cases back after the show
  3. Arrive a day early to set up, already have the address to Home Depot in your GPS
  4. Always Advance Ship to the Warehouse
  5. Bring a box cutter but always keep it in the show cases, bring it to the airport and your next prostate exam might be at Git’mo
  6. Packing Tape, Black Sharpie, Flash Drive with soft copies of all show collateral
  7. Get your bill of lading 3 hours before closing if possible
  8. Bring a tape measure, you can use that with the duct tape and knife to snake power under your carpet
  9. Order the padding
  10. Staffing adequately beats good shoes

7 replies on “Trade Show Secrets”

Great to find you John (via Chris Brogan Twitter) and yup, all good advice with a sense of humor. While I do fewer exhibits these days I do have a story with a twist that fits with that last item on the list. After standing on my feet for two days staffing (alone) a conference exhibit .. my feet were were sore and hurting – I was miserable. Then the guy in the next exhibit noticed and beckoned. He then pulled out a nifty box from under the table he had lined with foam rubber and a vibrator! He flipped it on and I laid my foot on the vibrator and low and behold the pain subsided and my feet were good to go for several more hours. So, (giggle) if working an exhibit for long hours add a vibrator to the list for those tired, sore feet!

Don’t forget when you are there the day before setting up find out where the closest two bathrooms are and who my be giving out something to drink. Don’t be too proactive and put out all your give-a-ways that early or a third will be missing due to all the people in and around the day before.

Great tips John, I found your post via Chris Brogan’s Twitter, always bringing tape, sharpies and soft copies of all our stuff has saved my company and I more times than not. For some reason it always seems to be the most simplest items are forgotten. I don’t know how many times we have forgotten the tape measure and had a few extra holes in the carpet. Again, great post.

Jeff, Good point if you are lucky enough to have an upstream vendor there, but usually our calendar is full with possible clients. Not as much fun, but better in the long run….

LaDonna, thanks, but I don’t think I’d be able to adequately explain that to the people I work with without taking a lot of heat. Most shows at decent hotels have a Spa so I try to book a massage, or at least put my feet in the pool at the end of the day.

editors note: LaDonna was kind enough to send over an apology that was not at all necessary, she did not write that with my sarcastic and churlish eye in mind. I sent back:

No apology required, I found your story very funny, can you see me now? On the trade show floor as somebody reaches in to grab more T-shirts and a marital aide comes flying out. Me standing there red faced and stammering “It’s for my feet! MY FEET!”

I love it!

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