On Gratitude & Giving

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Give ThanksIt’s Thanksgiving week in the U.S., which unfortunately for many Americans simply means a day to stuff yourself before heading out to conquer Black Friday the following day.

But in reality, it’s a time to reflect on what you have to be grateful for, including family, friends … and also customers. When was the last time you truly showed gratitude to those who support your business? Or do you continually take them for granted?

In the trade show world, we often tend to overlook many of those who make us successful. Exhibitors may develop a “gimme-gimme” attitude when it comes to show organizers or vendors. The show organizer may have blinders on when it comes to the exhibitors’ needs. And we all have a tendency to become gluttons (just like those huddled around the Thanksgiving table) when it comes to the way we view attendees at a show: “More, more, more!”

Instead, I encourage you to step back and take an honest look at your trade show program. Who do you cross paths with that makes everything possible and creates a return on your exhibiting investment? Have you thanked them lately? Do they know that you appreciate them? This could include showing a little love for members of your own trade show team as well. How much appreciation do they get from those in charge of your program? After all, they’re the ones that ultimately make things happen on the show floor.

So during this holiday season focused on giving and receiving, I challenge you find ways to show gratitude to people within the following categories:

  • Attendees/past attendees/customers that make your exhibiting pay off
  • Vendors who provide the tools for you to do your job
  • Your fellow exhibit marketing team who make you look good
  • The show organizers who bring in the attendees (if you’re an exhibitor)
  • The exhibitors who make your show what it is (if you’re a show organizer)

How can you show gratitude? It could be as simple as sending a handwritten note or picking up the phone to thank them in person. So few people do this anymore that you’ll be sure to make an impression. Or you can give them a small, thoughtful gift that means something to them. Personalize it to their interests if at all possible. (For example, one of my clients in another part of the country once mentioned how she loved a particular bagel place in my hometown. I packaged up a box of assorted flavors and sent it to her. She was amazed!)

And a bonus to showing gratitude is that it can actually improve your health! Blogger Michael Hyatt wrote a great post on four ways giving thanks can improve your life, including helping you to live longer. And besides, you’ll be a happier person and people will enjoy being around you more!

Now don’t think I’m without needing improvement in this area as well. While I try to always say thanks to those who help make my business run, sometimes I get just plain overwhelmed with tasks and deadlines and begin taking people for granted – including you, my loyal audience. You are truly the reason I do everything I do. My goal is to make you more successful at every show you participate in. But I would be like the much-debated tree that falls in the forest if it weren’t for you, so thanks for your attention.

Thanks also to those who make this education possible, including the shows who hire me to train their exhibitors, and new this year … our sponsor, Classic Exhibits and their distributors around the country who have provided free tools and webinars for exhibitors.

In the coming months, I plan to provide even more free education as my gift to you. Watch for the Trade Show Trailblazer series featuring behind-the-scenes secrets from successful shows, plus interviews with other industry experts. And speaking of giving gifts, coming up soon is a podcast interview with Rosalie Marcus on how to select the right items to give away in your booth. Plus there are other surprises on the horizon … so keep an eye on your inbox!

How do you show gratitude to those involved in your exhibit marketing program? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

© 2014 Marlys K. Arnold (reprinted from the November 2014 TradeShowTips Online – To receive tips like this in your inbox every month, please take a moment to fill out this request.)

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Marlys Arnold

With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community. To request an “Extra Shot of Exhibit Success” go to www.ExhibitMarketersCafe.com.