New Year New YOU! ….wait Who?

2012 Makeover

Yes I have decided the gypsy needs a makeover… you know, new workout routine, wardrobe, and hair doo. Ok, maybe just a few changes to freshen the old cart, and the gypsy up a bit! This is going to be an interesting year for businesses.  An election year seems to spark the competitive nature of business and also gives people who push to be innovative and go out on their own.  Just a personal observation. So first – make sure your suitcase is in good shape and if not get a new good one that you like, you have to be happy with the functionality of it, and the look, it really does make a difference when you see it coming around that turnstile.

I attended CES this year (Computer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, NV; I decided maybe it is time to rethink the show plan.  The crowd was a mix of ages which we all know makes a huge difference in accommodating business and human capital requirements.  As I was fighting for my personal space to hear a variety of presentations I noticed the aggressive nature of the crowd and the real enthusiasm to learn and know more about all the new products and services.  Trust me I am a little gypsy but I am mean when it comes to holding my ground and not getting shoved aside, I bite!  Or at least shove back!

So gypsies it is a New Year, make note to watch the shifting of the wave of business to become more active. Good news really, but make sure you know your stuff because you have a much more educated and inquisitive group out there; and to my personal appreciation, the playing field is equal when it comes to the knowledge base of the attendees, all ages, genders, ethnicities etc. etc., everyone wants to learn more, and do more!

Workout – yes my gypsies it is workout time, make sure you are in good trade show shape! Get those legs strong, break out the pedometer and make sure you are up to those 10,000 steps a day because you are going to have many shows to choose from and many airports, show floors, hotels, company campuses to make your way through this year.  Also make sure you throw in some arm exercises in there, holding that lightweight tablet, smart phone, laptop – yeah light weight alright but hold your arms in that same position for about 6 hours at a minimum and you will know what I am talking about!  Take a little yoga too, not only will you need the patience for the taxi lines; shuttle busses, and lunch line, but you will need a little flexibility to maneuver your way through the crowds. Lastly, get those abs tightened up to support your back, because standing on that concrete with a rag on it will take its toll.

Food and Water – I met someone at CES that broke out a lunch sack – smart! You betcha! He had asked his hotel restaurant for a sandwich – fruit – water – he had brought from home an insulated lunch sack and had them fill it because he didn’t have a refrigerator in his room; otherwise he said he goes grocery shopping before each show when he comes in from the airport.  That is one smart gypsy – you eat better, don’t spend as much, avoid the lines and can eat whenever you have time or spot a seat!  Worth carrying the backpack in my opinion, take a few less promo/pitch items in the morning come back in the afternoon if you must have them and eat well!  DRINK WATER – LOTS – there is nothing like a show floor and all that talking to dehydrate a person – coffee is not enough to sustain a body, you will get those 3:00 drags and feel wiped out by the end of the show if you don’t drink enough water. Take a few vitamins too – you know there is fungus among us, get that hand sanitizer out!

Lastly – Sleep – Yeah, I know that is just a dream! So many things to do in such a short amount of time, and be social to the wee hours – shows are notorious for having those 6 to 2 hours.  Get moving and ready to be on the bus, taxi, breakfast meeting by  7 and the ball is rolling all the way to the dinner that ends at 10 and your colleagues, customers, or friends you haven’t seen since last year say “let’s go out” everyone is still on the adrenaline rush from the show and can’t stop talking! You go and there you are at 1:00am looking through glassy eyes at your email and as you collapse in bed the voices keep going or you are still online in your head.  Off goes the alarm at 5:30 so you have time to answer anything that came in from the coast and fluff! OMG – where is that magic dust! (Eye drops – that get the red out, roller thing that de-puffs those under eye bags, yipes; and the erase the night before concealer to cover the dark circles and that is just the eyes! Sometimes there are not enough products on the planet to cover a 4 day show! So pace yourself – get some sleep!

As for clothing – pick your favorite logo wear or business attire and a couple of great sensible trade show shoes! That is the most important part of a gypsy outfit! Having ill-fitting shoes on a show floor is the kiss of death for your show.  Take a few different pair to change out each day it really makes a difference as your feet will swell and keeping your feet in the same position in your shoe will hurt!  Do some of those 10,000 steps in the shoes you are breaking in for your show BEFORE the show to make sure you can still walk at the end of the day.  Take a few padded Band-Aids just in case a pinky toe or heel gets aggravated.

Ok my gypsies a long post to kick off the year right even though many of us have a few shows under our hip scarfs already!  Looking forward to an outstanding 2012 show year!

High Season ….wait…When?

Magic Packed!

Well tradeshow gypsies, get your magic bag together it is FALL SHOW SEASON! Gotta love it! There are times during the year when shows escalate and sometimes gypsies do not remember what city they are landing in next. After the 3rd show in a row you are not sure if you are looking at your flight number, booth number, or hotel room number; a few times standing in front of my booth number in a hotel YIPES! Luckily only once someone opened the door after my frustration of putting in my key a couple of times; and they were a fellow gypsy that completely understood the situation.

Having your due diligence done, your white board filled in, and your folders filled with printed/dated orders; you have done what you can do thus far. Now it is time to break out the brain yoga and get your flexible mind in gear. Here is where those great creative skills, everyone is always targeting on your performance review, get to shine!

This show gypsy tried to fly in the day before setup day because so many things can go wrong and this would always give me a little more time to deal with any issues.  If you can get to the show floor the day you arrive and get your badge/floor map and any addendum/check to see if your freight is in your booth; that is a time saver and gives you a little more time until you meet your labor/or set-up yourself in the morning.  There have been times when time is wasted when picking up exhibitor badges and your labor is already at the booth and on the clock, if you are lucky and have specific instructions they may start without you, but more often than not they want to see your smiling face. If you are flying in and doing setup the same day get ready to “move-it-move-it” or “hurry-up-and-wait” it could go either way depending on your show and shipping.

When you unpack and set-up for the show, remember it is much easier to tear down quickly if you have your packing boxes and they are in your tiny storage area where you can pull them out and get things packed easily. REMEMBER SHOW ETIQUETTE – no tape guns etc. until the show closes. You know there is always that one customer that walks up at tear-down…always!  Some shows are on a point system and you can lose points for tearing down early and you can jeopardize your booth space selection for the next year, it is a big deal if you are the tradeshowgypsy doing booth selection!

Also, if you have to wait for your show crates, bugging labor in a gruff manner is not going to get you anything but last. Make sure you are professional and courteous to your fellow gypsies they are on the road, and dealing with all kinds of people, and you want to be one that they remember for being nice and helpful. Don’t expect them to be rushing because you planned your flight poorly, they have to support ALL the exhibitors and you are just one of them, put yourself in their shoes.

Looking forward to this fall, seems as though business has a good grasp of the value of face-to face business and how valuable shows can be, even though they are running lean and mean, they are out there and the economy can only get better if companies are doing business! This gypsy is happy to be a part of this industry that deals with real people instead of strictly online communications!  GO gypsies  GO! Great to see companies taking the bull by the horns and doing business and using those innovative skills to help us get growth back on the map!