Saturday, March 04, 2006

Secrets to a successful setup of your exhibit at the next tradeshow

Having completed a successful tradeshow setup for one of our clients at a major show, I had a chance to reflect on the many weeks of planning, design, production and setup leading to the actual show event.

It is clear that "planning, planning, planning" is essential to the success of the show, but just as important is the ability to work with the show producers, organizers, show service contractors, laborers, exhibit house, and designers. The ability to create and communicate the vision of your exhibit, how you want it to function and what your expectations are, is key to making it happen. The old adage, "nothing goes as planned" rings true on the show floor. Being able to "think on your feet", compromise, make decisions, communicate and take action is critical. And above all, building a "team" by listening, communicating and showing respect and common courtesy will make a difference between a successful event vs a miserable experience.

A few simple tips
1. Create a vision statement with goals and objectives
2. Plan, plan, plan (budget, schedules, activities, requirements)
3. Build your team early (marcom/tradeshow managers, designers, exhibit house, show producers, service contractors, etc.) and bring them in on your vision (the quality of each participant's contribution will increase when they are in on the vision, and feel a part of the team).
4. On the show floor - Meet the show organizers, the show service contractors, your exhibit service rep, the floor manager and especially the people at the service desk. They are the ones that can facilitate the communication and action when something needs to get done.
5. Keep your database of contacts in your PDA, cell phone, Blackberry. Take notes and document the process (this will come in handy during the setup, teardown, discussing final billing issues, and reporting back to management.
6. Have a post meeting will all the above (of course this won't be a one meeting gathering but one-on-ones or by phone to recap and discuss ways to improve for the next show).
7. A final report back to management with recommendations as well as acknowledgements.

Have a great show.



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Listening and talking to children about their concerns can reassure them that they will be safe. Start by encouraging them to discuss how they have been affected by what is happening around them. Even young children may have specific questions about tragedies. Children react to stress at their own developmental level.

The Caring for Every Child's Mental Health Campaign offers these pointers for parents and other caregivers:

* Encourage children to ask questions. Listen to what they say. Provide comfort and assurance that address their specific fears. It's okay to admit you can't answer all of their questions.
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* Focus on the positive. Reinforce the fact that most people are kind and caring. Remind your child of the heroic actions taken by ordinary people to help victims of tragedy.
* Pay attention. Your children's play and drawings may give you a glimpse into their questions or concerns. Ask them to tell you what is going on in the game or the picture. It's an opportunity to clarify any misconceptions, answer questions, and give reassurance.
* Develop a plan. Establish a family emergency plan for the future, such as a meeting place where everyone should gather if something unexpected happens in your family or neighborhood. It can help you and your children feel safer.

If you are concerned about your child's reaction to stress or trauma, call your physician or a community mental health center.

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