Weekly News & Insights: Be Prepared for Anything …

Photo © FreeImages.com/asifthebes

Photo © FreeImages.com/ asifthebes

There’s an old saying that holds true for trade shows: “Expect the best, but prepare for the worst.”

If ever there was a proving ground for Murphy’s Law, it’s on the show floor. I’ve seen all kinds of things go sideways, from booth materials that don’t show up to fire alarms going off mid-event and everything in between. But this week I heard about one incident that achieves an all-time record on the bizarre scale: A cannon on display at a trade show in Oklahoma blasted a hole in a couple’s home … more than two miles away!

Luckily no one was injured when the 15-inch howitzer cannon shell ripped a hole in the bedroom wall, but it does make you wonder why this activity was allowed in the first place. I mean really … shooting off cannons in a crowd? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me! (Not surprisingly the article states that “calls to the event organizer were not returned.”)

While this incident is certainly not the norm, there are no shortage of other disasters that can … and do … happen at trade shows. That’s why the smart folks at Tradeshow Logic, a full-service event solutions company, recently added disaster-preparedness planning for their clients. (Disclaimer: I have teamed up with Tradeshow Logic on other types of client projects.) The goal is to have a systematic plan that includes everyone from the meeting planner, exhibitors, and attendees to local government agencies and emergency management. Donna Karl, CMP, will be coordinating this service and she’s no stranger to dealing with emergencies, including Hurricane Katrina during her time at the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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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. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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