I know what you’re probably thinking. He’s going to tell me to make a schedule and lock in to appointments at the SHOT Show prior to touchdown at the Las Vegas Airport. Nope!
Okay, then he’s going to tell me to make a game plan and highlight on a map all the booths where I want to pick up materials and talk to exhibit personnel. Wrong again!
The SHOT Show has long been accepting of many types of attire, but to gain the most respect it pays dividends to look your best.
Let’s see, I bet he’s going to suggest I scour some of his blogging buddies’ websites who occasionally get leaked advanced information on new guns, products or services so the hype is in full force by the time the show floor doors open on Tuesday. Nah, not really!
Then it must be he plans to explain how a checklist created in advance is a necessary aid to ensure everything a show attendee wants to accomplish actually gets completed. Great idea! But no!
One last guess. I bet he plans to tell us how carrying a small notebook to jot notes with a tape dispenser to attach business cards right to that page of the notebook is a smart plan to stay organized and not forget any of the important details. Well…as a matter of fact, NO!
WELL, WHAT IS IT?
Truth is, all of these suggestions are great ideas and worthy of careful consideration to stay organized and efficient. Yet, the preparation I’m talking about today is more about developing a professional state of mind. Everyone who goes to SHOT represents something. If you’re the buyer for a store, obviously you represent that store. If you’re a manufacturer’s rep who carries a bunch of different lines, well then you likely are wearing several different hats during the show. Even media who does freelance work represents something important—themselves.
It’s important to go into the SHOT Show thinking and acting like the true professional you seek to be. Long before you pack your bags and head to the airport you need to start thinking about your image. Honestly, the non-verbals such as what you choose to wear while walking around the show can play a big role in how others perceive you, professionally speaking.
Now, I’m not here to say everyone needs to dress up and wear a sport coat or a dress. Many people do that and some are required by their employers to do so, and that’s great. I, in fact, do not dress up quite like that. Instead, what I am talking about is if you wear jeans make sure they are new and not a pair that appears like they’ve been through hell. Likewise, a dingy old T-shirt (or a T-shirt of any kind, for that matter) is best kept at home. How you appear speaks volumes about how seriously others will likely take you at the show. First impressions are important both in love and in business.
Another aspect toward developing a professional state of mind is being organized. Believe it or not, others will judge you as a professional based on the few minutes you spend at their booths. For instance, if you forgot your business cards or don’t have a pen when one is needed, this reflects negatively on you. The preparation phase for being organized at SHOT begins right now!
And finally, the professional state of mind requires a positive mental attitude throughout the show. Let’s not kid ourselves…the SHOT Show can be a grueling adventure. By Thursday and Friday it takes an extra effort to crack a smile or stay upbeat when your body is getting beaten down. Don’t allow fatigue to dull that professional edge. There’s still plenty of work to be done even as the show begins to wind down during the final days.
In closing, it’s easy to focus on the glitzy, high-anticipation energetic days spent at the SHOT Show as being the most important days of your tradeshow experience. As well it should be. Still, if you want the best possible positive results in the weeks and months to come after the event, the time to prepare and to act takes place from the moment you finish reading the post. Good luck!
©2014 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.