Come Check Us Out on #ExpoChat

October 13, 2013

Where is the best place to network with trade show industry veterans and newbies alike? Where can you find out what’s trending in the expo world? Where can you debate the hottest topics in our industry?

For the past two years, every Wednesday at 12:00 PM ET show organizers, exhibitors, suppliers and media all gather together for an hour on Twitter to talk trade shows in 140 characters or fewer.

In the spring of 2011 Dana Freker Doody, Stephanie Selesnick and I began talking about starting a weekly, moderated Twitter chat focused specifically on trade shows. After receiving positive feedback from the trade show and expo community, we launched #ExpoChat in July of 2011.

Each week we focus our discussion on one particular aspect of trade shows. The topic is posted on the ExpoChat website along with background material, discussion questions and a fun video for entertainment purposes.

I’m not really sure how the videos started, but they are very popular with our community. I think it sets the tone for what people can expect when they join us; serious discussion with a bit of fun mixed in.

On the first chat, we invited participants to bring their attendee, sponsorship, exhibitor and marketing wish lists to share with others. Since then we’ve discussed such topics as trade show audits, marketing with video, economic impact on shows, show floor design and much more.

People have told me the relationships they have built through #ExpoChat have helped them find new jobs, new suppliers, and even mentors. Others have pointed out that #ExpoChat has supplied them with a network of people they can turn to for help when they are in a jam.

When I hear stories like that, and when a new participant comes on the chat and tells us she exhibited at her first trade show and everyone cheers her on, I’m happy that we started and continue with this endeavor.

What has made #ExpoChat so successful for so long is the mix of people. Show representatives from the floor manager to the CMO, association executives, industry suppliers, corporate exhibit managers and members of the media join us weekly. What do not show up at #ExpoChat are egos and animosity.

Don’t get me wrong. Discussions get very heated at times. Topics that stood out as very controversial tackled subjects like trade show audits, labor, suitcasing, zero invoicing and most recently, defining “next gen” shows. Those controversial topics generated some of our best discussions.

It’s only when we can all gather together and discuss different points of view that we gain a better understanding of everyone’s role. It’s those discussions that allow colleagues to better understand what’s really important to organizers, attendees, exhibitors and suppliers. It’s discussions like those that serve to remind us why we’re in this business in the first place.

Dana, Stephanie and I hope that more people hear about #ExpoChat and join us. The more people we have representing different roles in the industry, the more ideas and information that can be exchanged.

We tell everyone, it’s a group of very smart people. Some are new to shows, and some have 30 years of experience. Everyone is fun, and everyone is there to make trade shows better. Some have been with the chat since the very beginning and some just joined. We hope you’ll join us for a productive and entertaining hour every week.

If you’d like more information on #ExpoChat, you can visit our website. There you will find two years worth of chat topics and chat archives, instructions for how to participate, upcoming topics (and some great videos) and contact information for myself, Dana Freker Doody and Stephanie Selesnick.

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