Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy 2013!! Are you ready for it?

Let’s hear it for 2013!!  The year of the Trade Show!  LOL!

As always, the New Year starts with the biggest Trade Show of the year, CES.  Over 120,000 people will be descending on Las Vegas in the next day or two.  Lines will be long for shuttles, taxis, restaurants and even the bathroom!  This show will test you in ways you can’t imagine.  Be as prepared as you can.

All the vets in the business will be at CES and judging from the Facebook Groups, a lot of newbies are making their debut too.  Everyone will be there—and everyone will be watching to see how you do.  Make sure you do your absolute best and set the stage for a fantastic year.

Here are some tips and tricks to think about as you pack today:

Things to pack:

  • Every kind of pill you can think of—Advil, Motrin, Vitamins, Water Pills, Allergy and Cold Pills, Beano, Airborne, Imodium, Gas X, Rolaids and Tums.  You aren’t going to be on your normal eating and drinking schedule so keep your insides prepared for Travel Food and the Travel Bellyaches that follow.  You know your feet are going to hurt in those heels after Day Two.  Since the show itself is four days plus a few rehearsal days, bring lots of Advil.  I throw a week’s worth of pills in one little bottle and keep them in my purse.  Besides, if you can rescue your client’s hung-over body on Day Three, you’re a hero.

  • Snacks.  Forget grabbing a snack at LVCC.  I’m not paying $2.50 for a bag of chips and another $3.00 for a soda.  Both are terrible for you and your wallet.  You will spend your entire break time standing in line instead of resting and eating.  Pack a box of something healthy in your suitcase and each day throw one in your purse to nosh on while you take your break.  Dried fruits, nuts, granola bars can all be purchased in advance and kept in baggies.  Add a protein shake or a piece of turkey jerky and an apple, and you have an economical and healthy lunch.  That beats standing in line for 25 minutes for a $6.00 piece of crappy pizza. 

  • Change of shoes and socks.  Your feet will hurt.  Even the seasoned pros will have aches and pains.  NEVER wear your floor shoes to and from work.  Instead, change into sneakers or flats for the hike from your hotel room to your booth.  I guarantee that you will walk at least a mile each day to and from.  Spare your feet and bring something comfortable.  It doesn’t hurt to bring a spare pair of heels to switch in and out during the day, provided there is room to store them in the booth.  I can tuck a heel in each pocket of my coat, and the travel flats slide into the inside pocket.  Don’t forget shoe inserts too!  That extra ¼ inch of padding is well worth the $6.

Things to do—or not to do:

  • Keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum.  Yeah, right, it’s VEGAS you say!!  Well, you aren’t here for a vacation or Bachelorette party, you are here to work.  Alcohol will make your 8-hour Day Three feel like a 16-hour Day Seven.  It will show on your face if you have been drinking, as your eyes will be bloodshot, your face will be puffy and those dark circles will stand out.  Don’t do it.  A glass or two of wine with dinner or in your room is fine, but shots of tequila at the bar with the Client is an absolute no-no! 

  • Drink as much water as you can.  You are in the desert where the humidity levels are rarely over 4%.  Coffee, soda, and alcohol will dehydrate you even more.  Convention and restaurant food contain lots of salt, which will make you thirsty.  Bring your own water container and drink as much as you can throughout the day.  Keeping yourself hydrated can also help you from losing your voice.  If you are staying in a hotel and have to pay those absurd Resort Fees, then go to their Fitness Center and sit in the steam room for 15 minutes to rehydrate your eyes, sinuses and skin.  You already paid for it, so use it.

  • Leave early…for everything.  Plan ahead.  Make a schedule.  Remember, there are an extra 120,000 people in town this week.  Travel times will triple.  A fifteen minute walk from The Strip to the LVCC will now take at least 40 minutes.  Consider walking to work and then taking the shuttle home.  Know the route in advance so you can plan your travel time.  Study the maps to know where everything is—from the shuttle route to the Expo floor.  Know where the restrooms are so you can go quickly and have time to stand in line.  Change into your flats when you go on break or lunch, because it’s likely a five minute walk to anything, and you can be comfortable and quick when you are in flat shoes.

CES can be intimidating and almost overwhelming to the unprepared or inexperienced.  With a little advanced and smart planning, you can easily navigate your way through the crowds and lines.  It’s time to shine for your client and your agency—don’t forget to smile!!

Life is Good.  Be prepared and it is even better!

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