Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

Even For Ladies

February 27th, 2014 1 COMMENT

A product description sign at EuroShop. Honestly, I half expected to see Ron Burgundy standing in the booth pitching the product.

“You know I love the ladies, but when it comes to most lightboxes . . . ”

How to Entertain Yourself During Any Meeting

January 1st, 2014 COMMENTS

crazyoffice

No More Boring Meetings

You’ve read countless articles about how to manage meetings so they’re efficient, informative, and productive. Unfortunately, no one ever suggests how to make the meeting more interesting. Not for the group but for you! It may be a group meeting, but that doesn’t mean you have to be bored listening to sales projections, productivity reports, or policy updates.

Here are some suggestions on how to entertain yourself during any meeting. It may be too much to expect your boss to appreciate your attempt to enliven the meeting. But, hey, it’s only a job, and you were looking for a reason to explain full-time employment, mortgage payments, groceries, and utilities to your kids.

Successful Meetings and Horshack

Animated Hand Raise

One of the all-time great television characters was Arnold Horshack (Ron Palillo), the braying geek on “Welcome Back Kotter.” Whenever Arnold had a question or comment, he scream “Oh! Oh Oh!” and raise his hand. We all know that animated hand-raising is fun. I prefer the exaggerated hand wave with some subtle finger movement. I strongly disapprove of the combination finger pointing/finger snapping hand-raising. It’s important to know the difference between being rude and being aggressively rude. You don’t need a catch-phrase, but a personal catch-phrase and a copyright could turn your meeting entertainment into a profitable business.

Taking Notes

You should be suspicious of anyone who doesn’t bring a pen and paper to a meeting. It’s just plain wrong. You, on the other hand, should take excessive notes. From the moment anyone begins speaking, begin writing. During any conversation, take notes. When there is a pause and no one is talking, keep writing. It’s a great way to stay awake during any meeting, plus you’ll be praised by your superiors for taking the meeting seriously and resented by your colleagues for taking the meeting seriously. It’s also a terrific opportunity to write a thank you letter to your Aunt Eileen for the $5 she sent on your 8th birthday. You’ll feel better and that’s all that really matters.

Winking

Remember the episode of Seinfeld where George had an eye twitch and everyone thought he was winking at them? Winking is fun, at least for the “winker” if not  for the “winkie.” When your boss says something like, “We must cut administrative expenses by 20 percent this quarter.” Give one of your co-workers a knowing wink. When two colleagues disagree about an issue, give them both a subtle but separate wink. It says, “I understand and am on your side.” Oh yes, winking can also get you hauled into HR for sexual harassment, so use your power wisely. Every great power has its kryptonite.

WinkingName Calling

This takes a little more planning, since cracking into the company’s HR files is both illegal and immoral. Start by learning everyone’s full first and middle name. Some people will gladly reveal that information because they were never mocked by their family and classmates. All others were named after dead relatives, celebrities, places, pets, or moral aspirations and still bear the emotional scars. They don’t want anyone to know their middle name is “Ottermeirman” or “Saskatchewan” or “Freedom” or “Barrymore.”

Once you have that information, use it during the next meeting. Refer to everyone by their full first and middle name. Sue, for instance, becomes Susanna Sunshine and Frank becomes Franklin Graceland. After the initial shock, I’m sure everyone will be laughing, patting each other on the back, and singing. Disclaimer: I have not personally tested this so I can’t verify the “everyone will be laughing or singing.”

Bathroom Breaks

Any meeting lasting more than 15 minutes should have at least one bathroom break. Group bathroom breaks are even better since getting everyone back into the meeting usually takes an additional 10 minutes. Subtle background noise of a babbling brook or cascading waterfall should do the trick.

dwightStaring

Staring like winking takes a little practice but once you’ve master it, the fun begins. Psycho staring, however, is unacceptable. How do you know when you’re psycho staring? Usually someone screams, there’s finger pointing, and handcuffs and someone in a uniform or lab coat appears. To stare without repercussions, you’ll want to pretend you’re thinking of something really, really important. In case some asks, you’re pondering. It just so happens that there’s someone between you and an epiphany. Another strategy is to stare until you get someone’s attention, then look away. Repeat. Then on the third stare when the hair on the back of their neck is at full attention, motion like they’ve got something hanging from their lip, stuck on their cheek, or caught in their hair. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness.

These are just a few of my techniques to make every meeting entertaining. You are welcome to use them and add your personal flair. I don’t expect any royalties or credit —  just send me your entertaining meeting tips in return. If we wish really hard, perhaps there is a website in our future where we are a tight-knit community, or as my wife we say “an interest-specific sub-culture,” bonded by the joys of entertaining ourselves during meetings.

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

What’s the Expiration Date of Your Trade Show Display? 20 Clues.

December 10th, 2013 12 COMMENTS

Expired Trade Show Display

Trade show displays, like yogurt and milk, have expiration dates. While it may not be printed on the box, it’s not hard to spot one that’s starting to spoil. Here are 20 Clues that it’s time to buy a new exhibit.

You Know It’s Starting to Smell When . . .

1. Graphics are attached with Velcro to a fabric backwall. While that may be OK for a FFA display at the county fair, it’s no longer acceptable at a professional trade show.

2. I&D won’t touch your property without hazardous duty pay. When show labor has to don hazmat suits before starting an install, that’s not a good sign.

3. Duct tape is an important design element. And you’re excited it now comes in designer colors — Baja Blue and Desert Sunset Yellow.

4. When your booth was purchased, a quarter could transform your hotel bed into Vibrating Magic Fingers. Ahhhhhh!

5. Attendees compliment the “vintage” theme of your booth and graphics. “Very retro!”

6. You decide to re-print your graphics and hand the graphic designer a floppy disk.

7. There are more “just in case” parts than actual display parts.

8. The shipping labels have added 50 pounds to the weight.

9. You lust over the two $99 banner stands in the adjacent booth.

10. The No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty has expired.

11. It smells like the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Even Fabreze can’t kill that odor.

12. You found your distributor by flipping through the Yellow Pages of the phone book.

13. Your storage costs have exceeded your purchase price by a factor of 10.

14. Your graphics have a “Happy Days” theme, and the Fonz is still your unofficial spokesperson. “Ayyyyyyy!”

15. Someone tagged your crate with the Rolling Stones tongue graphic (and you think that’s cool).

16. It folds and weighs more than an AMC Gremlin.

17. Children flee in terror as if they’ve just seen a circus clown. 

18. Your competitors gush over your booth . . . . “Don’t Change a Thing! Seriously, Not a Single Thing!”

19. You found a “Win a Free Palm Pilot” Promotional Flyer in the case.

20. Your boss says, “By golly, it was good enough for Old Joe, bless his heart and God rest his soul.”

If you answered “Yes” to any of these, put your display in the compost bin.

How do you determine the expiration date of a trade show display? Please share. ;-)

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

**********************************************

Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

10 Reasons to Love June and July in the Exhibit Biz

June 3rd, 2013 1 COMMENT

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

Everyone knows the trade show biz is cyclical. It’s busy in August, September, and October. November is a snoozer. December is always a gamble. Then comes January, February, March, and April when all hell breaks loose. And just when you can’t possibly work any harder or sleep any less, it’s late May.

Suddenly, no one calls. No one faxes. Your morning emails are from someone in Russia promising you, well, something 6 inches bigger.

You have a choice. You can panic, tell co-workers the “sky is falling,” and spend the day smoking Lucky Strike heaters for the next two months. Or, you can embrace the freedom of the summer doldrums. I choose the latter.

So take a moment and forget the smell of propane exhaust and B.O. from the trade show floor. Forget the navy blue logo that was supposed to be printed in vibrant magenta. And try to forget  your 90-120 day Accounts Receivable report.

10 Reasons to Love June and July:

  1. 40 Hour Week. It’s not really a vacation, but let’s face it, you wouldn’t know a real vacation if it smacked you in the forehead like a Moscone drayage bill.
  2. Quick Ships. “Need your display to ship in 7 days instead of 10? No problem!”
  3. Brillo Pad. The annual spring cleaning of your computer keyboard and mouse.
  4. Pretty Picture. Trade show graphics always look better in sunlight. Add a warm gentle breeze and it’s just about perfect.
  5. Getting to Know You. Every order has a name, a face, a personality, and a story.
  6. Social Studies. More time to explore social networking. Join 20 MORE exhibit-related groups in LinkedIn. Then start a Pinterest site where you share adorable photos of your dog Wiggles and your cat Smoochie.
  7. Free Hula Hoop. Suddenly, no marketing promotion is considered too wacky.
  8. Refill Please. A break from lunches from a plastic bag and noon conference calls.
  9. Website Revisions. It’s time. Your home page has a photo of you at TS2.
  10. E2MA Red Diamond Congress. This year it’s in Chicago from July 30 to August 1. If you haven’t been, you should. It’s not a trade show. It’s a conference where you connect with industry colleagues, trade show managers, and LEARN.  I’ll be there.

The Red Diamond Congress (RDC) is the annual conference of the E2MA. The RDC attracts more than 200 of the top corporate exhibitors and event managers with six and seven-figure annual budgets from throughout the U.S. The draw for these buyers is more than 45 seminars and general sessions devoted to the urgent issues that drive exhibit marketing today. The Red Diamond Congress also offers strategic level insights into what senior level event managers should do to optimize their event production for maximum business value.

Get some sun while you can. You’ll need the Vitamin D. There’s a good chance you won’t see much sunlight for the next nine months.

Please share your reasons you love the trade show business during the summer. After all, you probably have a little time on your hands right now. ;)

–Mel White

http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com
Classic Exhibits Network (LinkedIn)


 

What Not to Wear (at a Trade Show)

January 31st, 2013 23 COMMENTS
What Not to Wear (at a Trade Show)

What Not to Wear (at a Trade Show)

No blog post over the past three years has gotten more hits on Google or more comments than this one. In fact, it’s not even close. We’re not shy about recycling, even when it comes to content. Enjoy.

I’m no fashion expert. The yellow sweater I wear all winter is a dead giveaway. But you don’t have to be a member of the fashion police to spot these faux pas. Wear what you want if you’re an attendee, but as an exhibitor, you may want to consider these suggestions.

Men

  • New Shoes – Who hasn’t made this mistake and regretted it? After all, you want to look your best so you purchase new shoes. They look great, but they hurt like hell after Day 1. By Day 3, your blisters have blisters. Shoe Rule #2 – Take a little initiative sport and shine those puppies. Or at least get them shined at the airport while you’re waiting for your plane. It’s cheap even with a generous tip. Shoe Rule #3 – The belt is supposed to match the shoes guys! A brown belt with black shoes? Your mother would be appalled.
  • Golf Clothing – Here’s the easy way to decide on golf clothing. If it looks great on the golf course, it looks silly at a trade show. I don’t care if it’s the latest high-tech, super-duper sweat-wicking material. It’s still golf clothing. Now there are exceptions to every rule, such as a sports-related show, but in general, just remember there’s a reason why Fortune 500 executives don’t wear golf shirts and slacks to negotiate multi-million dollar deals.
  • Slacks — If your pants have a drawstring and elastic ankle cuffs, DON”T WEAR THEM. You can pretend they’re fashion fleece or casual Sansabelt pants all you want. Everyone else knows they’re sweats.
  • Slacks (cont.) – We all pretend we haven’t gained weight. But we have. Don’t wait until 7 am on the first day of the show to discover your pants don’t fit or they have that telltale “V” pucker between the waist and zipper. Unless I missed something important in Biology class, blood flow is important.

Women

  • Shoes – For some reason, which I’ll never fully understand, women love to punish themselves. Even more than men, they wear new shoes to the show, and then do the unthinkable by wearing high heels with pointy toes. Ladies, and I say this with all seriousness, you’re beautiful. High heel shoes do not make you more beautiful. If you are angling for a freak with a high heal foot fetish, take out a personal ad (SWF seeks MHHFFF).
  • Pantyhose – Another medieval torture device invented to punish women.
  • Perfume/CologneDo you remember the dirt cloud that surrounded Pigpen in the Peanuts cartoon? Some women (and some men) wear the fragrance equivalent by dousing themselves in perfume. Perfume should be alluring, not painful. Here’s a tip for applying the proper amount:  rub on only one free sample from the magazine.
  • Undies – Let’s just say that if you feel the need to make “adjustments” more than twice a day, you are probably wearing the wrong underwear.
  • Earrings – I’m going to catch some heat on this one. Let me be clear. Earrings are fine, but if your ears look like a Claire’s Accessories rack, you may want to remove 6-8 pairs. Lips, tongue, nose, eyebrow, and skull piercings are a matter of personal preference, corporate policy, and cult affiliation.
  • Pockets – Just the opposite actually. Men always have pockets. As an exhibitor, you need pockets for business cards, pens, trinkets, breath mints, etc. I’m not talking about a safari jacket with 37 pockets, but a dress jacket or skirt with two pockets will make your life much easier in the booth.

My sincere thanks to the fashion forward exhibitors for their suggestions, some of which cannot be printed without an R or X rating. Suffice to say that the term “cleavage” was a contentious topic between men and women.

What did we miss? Add your “What Not to Wear” suggestions and comments .

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

Additional Articles:

What Smells? The Top 10 Trade Show Odors
Love on Aisle #600 — Trade Shows and Events
Trade Shows as First Dates

Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.