Making “it” Happen…wait…What?

Now where is that “It”?

High-season for gypsy managers can cause run-away mania! Yes shows can pile up so fast and come back-to-back and right on top of each other. For a gypsy show manager it is an incredible amount of work trying to juggle all the pieces that are a part of shows.

List number one for show #1 that happens the same week as show #2 that actually starts a day earlier – set-up on the weekend, VIPs attending Show #2 and in comes Show #3 that product management team golden cannot live without. Let’s see graphics that are going to Show #2 are now requested for Show#3, and the staff as well. In reality show staff #2 would do better at Show #3 but with VIPs going to Show #2 they will want to be at that show.  With this late addition where are the demos going, and are there enough literature, promo items, and booth equipment? Let’s see answer to that … make it happen!

With all of the pressures of shows in general and the unexpected addition of a new show to the schedule; show manager gypsies want to jump in the wagon and head for the nearest watering hole!

Make it happen, ok time to divvy up the resources and not give too many choices, firm-flexibility…hugh?  Lists go out the window with all the changes taking place, but rearranging is the one way to make “it” happen. Very few times can a gypsy keep things set in stone – this detail oriented position requires the creative thinking skills of a sand sculptor! Just as you place one thing in place all it takes is a little rumble to shift things around. Making decisions is a critical part of this position – sticking with them as long as they make sense; but also making sure that if the sands shift, the whole thing doesn’t fall apart. Make a plan but have options in that magic bag, you will need them!

Often there are those staff members that will have that knee-jerk reaction to anything they perceive to be a “disaster”, let them know you are managing the show and be strong enough to deal with crisis by knowing that as long as no one is bleeding or worse – crisis is all relative and can be worked through. Having the ability to have a quick solution or option readily available will squelch any panic or bad decision; that you as head gypsy show manager in charge will have to answer for later. Make sure to have asked for help on the show floor – don’t do it all alone, but give clear communication and assure your delegate knows the responsibility they are taking on, as the show report will recognize them as a contributor to the success of the event.

With companies working so lean these days show managers are often a one person staff with access to resources or external vendors.  Although in many cases external vendors are being limited or eliminated. Having general graphics that can be used at multiple shows with the addition of demo’s for specific product lines is helpful if there is an addition to the show schedule. Sharing the resources by asking staff managers to delegate gets the show manager out of the middle of the “visibility” issue when VIPs are involved. The large issue is product/marketing materials – the catch 22 of product made for the customer or for marketing use.  Many organizations follow protocol to have marketing pieces developed and delivered to marketing but sometimes there is only one piece to be shared; so making sure to work with engineering and production is important to have other options available.

So keep digging in that magic bag and there is definitely a get “it” done in there somewhere!  One more thing…never, ever, loan out that bag!




Show Gypsies are Olympic Triathletes! …wait …Really?

Gypsy Muscle - I did look for a medal...honest!

First rule of the charter…write everything down a few different places! As tradeshowgypsies we are expected to be Olympic qualified triathletes – multi-tasking, organized, with attention to detail of course! You also really do have to lift, push, shove, run, and operate a tape gun! If you are woman it is in heels! :))

So my gypsies, my method to the madness was to write everything down on paper, on-line (iPad/Mobile Device), and on a white board. The white-board worked the best because it was large and the visual would help keep the show calendar in my head. This is also useful for your boss who is wondering, where is that gypsy now? You can also add equipment if you are managing several shows at the same time or have back-to-back shipments that may require extra attention; or any other information that would be helpful to you.  My board also had a space to check off showing that I had completed my show orders.

Having a show spreadsheet that includes everything: name of show, market segment, booth cost, type of booth sent, new graphics yes or no, estimated shipping costs, ancillary services and costs, budgeted amount, show staff attending, products, demos, and if there are additional costs for VIPs (meeting rooms etc.) that may have been added and the date they were added so that you can verify additional costs for the event.

At the end of the event add in the number of leads, pictures, and/or write-ups from press. All of this is extremely useful when managing your reports and requests for specific information on lead generation/business development/cost-analysis/justification. This report also can give you an idea for shows that are done annually for planning (early remember)!. Once you get a template set-up it is not near as bad as it might seem to populate. Of course you have to be a detail oriented, organized, multi-tasking Gypsy Olympian!

With changes in staff or double-booked shows the above information is critical for the person that is physically managing the show and for the individual that may be covering the show for you if you are double-booked!

Wait…Where is that muscle guy when you need him?

One word of WARNING! Gypsies BEWARE! Having notes where your peers can determine how long you will be gone can be dangerous! Not only are you subject to pranks in your office/cube; but you may not have one when you get back! That did happen to me, our team moved offices while I was gone and when I came back a good-hearted soul had moved all of my stuff into another office! I was gone for about 6 weeks in a row and I was evicted by a famous Graphic Design Director (you know who you are! 😉 He was trying to sublet my cube!  He also changed my name tag title on my cube to read Trade Show Goddess after exceeding a certain number of shows per year. Of course our new CEO at the time wanted to know how she could get a title like that…errrr well?

So beware of those “creative-types” they will lease out your space when you are gone too long if they have access to your calendar and promote you! FYI – He is the Best creative designer I know! Let me know if you need one…I might just give his name out…for a few gold coins across the palm…specifically today…gold only!!! 🙂