Sometimes you can learn a range of life lessons from a good book. Libraries and bookcases are really classrooms, and each flick of the page educates a little more on the good, the bad, and the ugly. But what if you could write one of the classics? What tales would you want to tell to the trade show world?
We've compiled a list of revised classics below -- the must-have volumes for every trade show manager's bookcase. Each title represents a story to learn from, laugh with, or thank heavens you're not a part of. Hopefully, you'll never find yourself as a character in one of these.
1. Great expectations
By What the Dickens
An epic masterpiece of twists and turns, broken dreams, and rocky relationships, this book tops our list as it is the tell-tale experience of many who hit the floor of an exhibit hall less than prepared. The protagonist has her hopes for a successful show dashed before her eyes -- all because of poor planning. Keep this title handy for a reminder of what not to do, and instead, as the hero of our story would say as the story closes on an empty convention center littered with flooring tape, "Suffering has been stronger than all other teachers...".
2. A Confederacy of Dunces
By Don't Be A Toole
In the world of trade show logistics, relationships matter. The process of planning, securing a logistics company, scheduling moving in and move out all involve a colorful cast of characters, like the lead in the number-two spot on our list. He lives in a bubble and looks down at those in the world around him, a sure-fire way to fail. "Is my paranoia getting the best of me, or are you mongoloids really talking about me?" Well, if you have to ask the question... Look to this example and make every effort to befriend each person you cross paths with along the road to your next event; you never know who may be able to help you out of a pinch when you need it.
3. On The Road
By That carrier Is Wack
A little adventure is great, but not when it comes to freight. This is the tale of one rogue shipment that its owners endeavor to find at all costs. It's somewhere "on the road", but not at the exhibit booth where it belongs. While there are many lessons to be learned here, a primary one is to be sure and choose a carrier known for skill, precision, and timeliness. If you're going to be on the road, make sure it leads to trade show success.
4. The Man In The Iron Mask
By Alexandre The Untouchable
Here is another story worth adding to your shelf. This character mans the exhibit booth with an "iron mask", making himself unavailable to passers-by for conversations and answers to product questions. A successful trade show story begins when your booth arrives but don't forget the middle part of your story - your successful interactions with attendees - so don't keep them at arms length.
5. American Psycho
By Stress Easton Ellis
This title follows one who is very un-cool under pressure with our main character appearing sane but then (spoiler alert!) going psycho. Keep your cool under every situation, be well rested and know that when bad things happen, they probably aren't as bad as you think they are. A practical application for you: Don't be crazy. Get plenty of rest so you won't be stressed and ineffective; you need energy to be at your best for every show.
SO, what's on your shelf?
While some, well, ok a lot, of artistic license was taken in our selection of books, hopefully you can see the importance of planning, people, and a healthy dose of pragmatism as pieces of your trade show planning strategy.
Avoid these pitfalls and write your own story - with a happier ending!