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Trade Show Etiquette

Posted by LOTGK on December 10, 2007

As some of you readers know, I attend a lot of trade shows across the country. I hit New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Gatlinburg, and several other cities. In the many years I have been traveling, I found that there are constants with every trade show no matter what city the show is hosted in. If you recognize these and adhere to them, it will make your show travel enjoyable.

The first constant is preparation. Make sure your hotel is close to the show. Spending time in a taxi in a busy city to get to work is not where it’s at. A hotel with a good working elevator is a must. A comfortable bed, secure door, and well lit lobby and hallways a must. Keep in mind, you usually get what you pay for. If, say, you are staying on Times Square New York, and you see the Milford Hotel is only $179.00 per night and the other hotels are $250.00 and up, try not to stay at the Milford. Here is the reason why. Milford Hotel

Airfare is the second constant. Get your reservation in early to assure the best price. But there is much more you can do. The Grassy Knoll Institute is going to share a little secret with you. I am going to show you how to get the best seat on the plane. It’s simple, but you must strike quickly.

First, get your flight information off your ticket, your flight number, the plane that is flying. Second, visit this website, Seat Guru, select your airline, then select the type of plane you are flying on. For instance, Continental airlines 737-800 plane. The screen will show you the seating for that plane and what seats are good and what ones are bad. On the 737-800, Row 14 Seat A and F are best choice, with C and D second choice. it is the second exit row. Full reclining seats and plenty of leg room and since most airlines don’t book the exit rows unless the flight is completely full, usually the middle row seat is empty giving you even more room. Row 5 bulkhead row is second choice, and then row 12, first emergency row. Keep in mind though, row 12 does not recline fully.

Armed with this information, immediately go to your airlines website and click the flight check in button. Enter your flight number and then select view seating. At this time you can change your seat assignment to your best choice. The faster you sign in, the better choice. This method does not work with Southwest Airlines, who do not assign seats but boarding numbers. But, you can still check in 24 hours before online and guarantee a good seat with them.

The third constant is what I call T.S.E., or Trade Show Etiquette. Since we are representing the company we work for, we should always be well dressed and groomed, well mannered, and attentive and sensitive to our surrounding neighbors and fellow trade show exhibitors. After all, they are there just as us exhibiting their product.

This brings me back to a time at a trade show my buddy Jerry and I recently attended in New York. Jerry really drove the T.S.E. points home. Let me explain. Upon arriving at the Javitts Center in New York, we were unable to enter our booth for it was filled with trash consisting of bubble plastic, white packing peanuts, shredded boxes, wrappers, and several other assorted nasties. The trash was literally knee deep and spanned our entire twenty foot booth width.

Usually, when we arrive, our merchandise is waiting for us on shrink wrapped pallets in our booth with the tables and chairs ordered. Today was an exception.

Surveying the area, Jerry immediately spotted where the trash was coming from. It was from the booth directly across from us. The workers for that company were unpacking their product, (Trinkets, glassware, pottery, knick knack type items) each piece wrapped in newspaper, bubble plastic, and packing peanuts. They had thousands of items on display. From the looks of our booth, it appeared that they opened their product in our booth and left the trash in ours so as to keep their area clean. (Bastards!)

Jerry went into action. He discreetly walked over to the neighbors booth and started toward the one who looked in charge. Jerry walked toward this small Chinese woman, who couldn’t of been taller than five foot and weighed under one hundred pounds. I quietly watched from the booth anticipating the silver tongued devil to engage this woman. I was ready to take notice of this P.R. moment.

As I heard Jerry speak, the woman had her back towards him and perhaps ignored him or didn’t hear him. Jerry spoke up a little louder this time. Jerry Said, “excuse me ma’am, but do you think you could please clean up the mess you made in our booth so we could get started on our own?” The woman, slowly turned around, stared up at Jerry, who at Six feet five inches tall, is a very tall man compared to this Chinese woman. The woman stared at Jerry for a brief second face to crotch, and then sternly said, “YOU SHUT UP!” She then turned and went about her business.

Jerry was a bit stunned and tried to explain the mess in the booth but the woman wasn’t buying into it. This time, she swung around and yelled at Jerry, “YOU SHUT UP!” Jerry, looking down on this woman, and always having something clever to say, replied in a yelling voice, “NO, YOU SHUT UP!!!” Jerry then returned to our booth.

Seizing an opportunity, I took the bull by the horns and followed Jerry’s lead. I took a big piece of cardboard from our display and began fanning it over our booth floor causing the packing peanuts and bubble wrap to take flight. I directed the flight path to the booth across from us.

A few seconds later, our neighbors booth looked like a white tornado as the packing peanuts and bubble wrap swirled around inside their booth. Moments later, I dug the cardboard box into the carpet and pushed all the rest of the heavier trash and nasties right into the center of our neighbors booth. The woman started yelling at me in Chinese but that was not one of my menu choices that day. I screamed at her as loud as I could to shut the hell up. I walked back into our booth and Jerry and I both began to laugh.

For the rest of the show, Jerry and I would start howling as we would tell each other, “You shut up.”

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One Response to “Trade Show Etiquette”

  1. dex said

    Funny stuff

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