Education Sessions Delivered at EXHIBITORLive! 2016

March 6, 2016

EXHIBITORLive! 2016 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas was all about educating and empowering the trade show and events industry. 

With more than 80 education sessions during the five-day conference, new formats to education and a record 52 graduates of CTSM this year, the importance of educating our industry was evident.

“We saw an 11-perfcent increase in educational participants, and a focus on communication and dialogue among peers,” said Randal Acker, president at Exhibitor Media Group, which runs the show.

He added. “Many of our attendees have no internal network of peers in their organization to share knowledge, and they attend, many for the entire show, to get as much education as they can under their belt. We have seen those who are new to the industry through veterans who are looking for the added knowledge base to do their jobs effectively. We also introduced a new mobile app from Skoop to help continue that dialogue with their peers after the show ends.”

The conference ran Feb. 28–March 3 and the conference set up, with a clear time separation of education sessions versus show floor engagement, provided ample opportunity for learning.

In the Management and Leadership track, veteran speaker G. Dan Lumpkin of Lumpkin and Associates provided a new topic on “Understanding Emotional Intelligence”.

The importance of EQ was made clear with some startling data: 70 percent of customer loss is related to emotional intelligence, such as poor customer service, poor follow-up and lack of trust and connection with the service representative.

It is also the number one reason for turnover (I don’t get along with my boss, etc.).  However, emotional intelligence can be developed, with strategies such as being mindful, recognizing and naming emotions, understanding the cause of your feelings, managing anger, and developing listening skills.

In the Marketing and Sales track, speaker Rhiannon Andersen, vice president and co-owner of Steelhead Productions, led the session entitled “Recipe for Executing an Irresistible Trade Show Campaign.”

This development was out of necessity during the 2009 economic downturn, where they saw their sales and revenue drop dramatically.

The premise is a strong one: take every opportunity to connect with your attendees.  And the first step in that is to ‘control the controllable’. This centers around goal setting, and developing goals that are specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, and time specific. 

It also is vital to create critical questions, such as who your target audience is, what should they know about you, and how will you capture their attention.

Magician and engagement guru Scott Tokar of Corporate Fx lead a dynamic and fun session in the Exhibits, Experiences and Events track, “Traffic: Trade Show Engagement Methods That Work.”  

He pointed out why you should gather a crowd: it is the only time for many of your attendees when they will walk past your booth, and you have that one opportunity to tell your story. When developing your engagement strategy, Tokar states you need about five minutes to accomplish 3 key things: engage, collect lead info, and disengage.  Also, be clear of what your booth is doing:  attract, communicate and engage, versus what your booth staff should be doing: connect, convince, and close. 

Also in the triple E track, speaker Angela Dills, director of Technology at Czarnowski, discussed “Technology Mixology: The Art and Science Behind Creating the Perfect Technology Engagement.”

 When developing your technology cocktail for your booth, you need to be mindful of two things:  your budget and your key audience.  Another key component to help direct your technology choice is to review what you feel is holding you back from maximizing your potential on the showfloor, and how can your technology fill that gap.  Do you have a booth that is not situated well for high traffic flow? 

Or perhaps you have trouble attracting and qualifying leads?  Using technology to solve some of these issues is an area many of us miss when adding technology to our booth experience.

With so many educational choices, and a limited amount of time, a new format was added this year called Fast 5.  This was a quick round of five minute presentations from five speakers, providing much shorter bits of info. 

When the Fast 5 round was completed, attendees had the opportunity to go to a smaller roundtable with the speaker of their choice, and have a more intimate discussion around the topic. 

Dee Silfies, chief learning strategist at Exhibitor Conferences, said, “We wanted to have sessions that provided shorter bits of information, and in a different learning style. Our plan is to bring these back next year, and market them more before and during the show.”

Regardless of the format, whether the 90-minute session, the Fast 5, the field trips, hitting the showfloor or engaging and conversing in the new app, attendees were taking in as much knowledge as possible.

“Attendees come not only to learn, but also to impart their knowledge and experience,” Silfies said. “There really is no other show in the industry quite like it.”

EXHIBITORLive! 2017 will be held March 12-16 t the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. 

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