Tradeshow season is back! Grab your suitcase, passport and plane ticket and get ready for action-packed adventures in numerous countries, cities and hotels.
As the latest tradeshow season begins, it’s time for the next chapter in my continuing series of articles (inspired by my friend Colin Roundtree) that started back in March 2014, titled “Tradeshow Etiquette.”
Keep in mind that people always remember first impressions and will judge your entire product or brand on your attitude.
Before or after you read this piece (preferably before), you should definitely read parts I, II and III, found online at XBIZ.com.
If you haven’t yet read the first three parts of the series, here is a quick recap:
In Part I of the series, I discussed business cards, substance overindulgence, leaving the comfort zone, flashy rookies, meetings, hooking up, taking care of oneself and common sense.
In Part II of the series, I wrote about, cleaning yourself up, drama royalty, picking up the tab, ignoring the size of the tradeshow, cellphone manners, introduction rudeness and inappropriate greetings.
Finally, in Part III of the series, I discussed a tradeshow not being a vacation, traveling smart and comfortably, product verification, meeting places, meeting scheduling, meeting technology and cancelling meetings.
This article and this entire series for that matter is meant for tradeshow newbies and veterans alike.
So, for you tradeshow warriors, give this article a read before you head to the airport or your next tradeshow meeting.
Pre-Show Publicity / Use and Abuse Social Media
I’ve always found that preparing for a tradeshow can be just as important as attending the tradeshow itself. Reviewing a tradeshow’s website prior to arrival has become a must. Tradeshow attendees should figure out pre-show, what events they want to attend, who they want to meet, and do everything possible to maximize their time at the tradeshow.
Meetings with potential customers, partners, vendors and associates is going to be one of the most time-consuming aspects of your tradeshow — and it all starts with letting the world know that you are going to be in attendance and what you are looking for.
It is essential that you spend ample time on the tradeshow’s website and industry message boards announcing your attendance and your goals for attending the tradeshow. But now more than ever, you have to take advantage of social media and let social media work for you.
If you aren’t utilizing XBIZ.net, FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Instagram and the various other social media websites to announce your attendance then you are only hurting yourself.
Social media gives you instant free access to send the world your message. People attending tradeshows have goals that include people they want to meet; your chances of meeting or doing business with someone looking for something specific can be instantaneously increased by having the ability to let them know that you will be in attendance.
Lose the Attitude – You Aren’t Larger Than Life
This next part is for you self-proclaimed “big shots” attending tradeshows.
Every single person in attendance at a tradeshow has spent a considerable amount of resources (time, money and personal sacrifice) to get there in the first place. Regardless of your level of longevity or success in the industry, it is essential that you remain approachable and grounded.
It takes a lot of guts for a newbie to approach a veteran and ask for advice or try to pitch a product. Believe it or not, it probably wasn’t too long ago that you were in the same shoes as the rookie.
The entire purpose of a tradeshow is for people to network in an effort to share education, information and ideas with the goal for a business sector to continue to expand and thrive.
If you make someone feel unwelcome or uninvited, you aren’t helping. In fact you are only hurting the very industry that has led to your success.
Keep in mind that people always remember first impressions and will judge your entire product or brand on your attitude. It’s also important to remember that it takes a long time (years) to build up a good reputation but only a few seconds to destroy it.
Seminar Attendance, Manners and Participation
Seminars have always been and remain one of the most beneficial aspects of a tradeshow, if you know how to use them right. Your pre-tradeshow preparation should always include reviewing seminar schedules, synopses and speaker bios.
There may be a speaker on a seminar panel that you have had a difficult time getting an introduction to, and at the conclusion of seminars almost all panelists stick around for a few minutes. This is the perfect opportunity to get the face time that you’ve been trying to get. If a particular panelist is in a hurry or has another obligation to attend do, at least swap business cards or contact information so that the panelist can put a face to the name the next time you reach out.
Don’t be afraid or shy to ask questions. There is no such thing as a stupid or silly question and these seminars are the perfect opportunity to acquire some new knowledge or tweak what you think you know.
If you do decide to attend a seminar, please remember to be respectful. Seminar speakers take a lot of time preparing for their seminars and usually do so at that their own time and expense.
Seminar panelists are not blind to those folks who are taking phone calls, sleeping or having side meetings right in the middle of seminars. If you decide to leave a seminar while it is ongoing, you should do so as quietly as possible.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with disagreeing with a speaker. In fact, the best seminars always invite healthy debate, but act respectful and professional. It also goes without saying that you should be equally respectful to other seminar attendees.
Finally, seminars are built for knowledge and education. If you are only attending a seminar to try to get a quick plug for your product or service, please find another way to use your time.
Business Cards, Business Cards, Business Cards
I can’t believe after four parts to this series, I’m still having to remind everyone that you need to bring business cards to the tradeshow and have enough for everyone.
I recently attended a networking event at a tradeshow and was horrified by how many people attending the networking session were literally telling people that they needed to be selective of who they were giving business cards to because they did not bring ample supply. Two simple words came to mind — stupid and insane. What a beautiful way for a tradeshow attendee to look unprepared, rude and moronic all at the same time.
So once again, for all of you, who haven’t read the earlier parts of this series of articles, ALWAYS have business cards that are easy to read, contain complete contact information, and make sure that you have more than enough (as a rule of thumb, I always bring double the number of business cards to a tradeshow than I think I’m going to need).
You are attending a professional tradeshow and the hotel or venue that has graciously allowed the tradeshow to take place, is watching and listening.
Tradeshows are not college spring break in Cancun. The show organizer has gone to great lengths to work with the hotel or venue to ensure the productivity, safety and comfort for all attendees. Be polite and follow the rules of the hosting venue; if you think getting into fights with hotel staff or having to be carried to your room drunk, benefits anyone, you shouldn’t be attending the show to begin with.
The show sponsor will not hesitate to prevent you from attending future shows and your negative conduct could impact the sponsor’s ability to have future events at that particular venue.
The adult entertainment business is a higher-risk industry, and someone is always looking to make the adult entertainment industry look negative to the headline craving world. Don’t be that person.
Thanks for reading and have a safe and healthy tradeshow season. Don’t forget to stay tuned to XBIZ for the next chapter of this series.
Corey D. Silverstein is the managing and founding member of the Law Offices of Corey D. Silverstein P.C., which focuses on representing all areas of the adult industry. His clientele includes hosting companies, affiliate programs, content producers, processing companies, website owners and performers, just to name a few. Silverstein can be reached by email at email@example.com; his site, MyAdultAttorney.com and Porn.law; or by telephone at (248) 290-0655. This article does not constitute legal advice and is provided for your information only and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with legal advisors in your own jurisdiction. It may not be current as the laws in this area change frequently. Transmission of the information contained in this article is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver.