Avionics News October 2019 - 75

there's a basket full of cool airplane pens doesn't
mean it's OK to grab a handful. Many booths have
fun swag for booth visitors, so inform your newbie
that these items are for the customers and to take a
giveaway only if offered.
And then there's the alcohol. For a
20-something, the open (free!) bars of cocktail
receptions and hospitality suites can be an irresistible temptation, but it is so easy to have one
too many and say the wrong thing, do the wrong
thing, or somehow behave in a way that does
not reflect well on your company.
The worst case of this I've seen was at a big trade show
cocktail party where an attendee went quickly from funny
tipsy to drunk. Her colleagues tried their best to get her out
of the party and back to her hotel room, but she resisted.
Soon she was screaming at them to leave her alone, that
she was having a good time. It was painful to watch.
Two hotel security guards soon arrived with a wheelchair.
They placed her firmly in the wheelchair and wheeled her out
of the party. What strikes me, all these years later, was not the
ultimate career-limiting move I witnessed, but that the hotel
had a system for it. It was routine - just as if someone had
spilled a drink and the janitor arrived with a mop and bucket.
The hotel's "business as usual" actions involving the wheelchair tells me that what I saw was not a rare occurrence.
This may be the first time your newbie
submits an expense report. Review what is covered and what isn't. Some companies have dollar limits for
each of the three meals, so make sure they are aware. Is your
staff member allowed to entertain, pick up a dinner check or
buy a round of drinks?
One new co-worker of mine was stunned when advised
that the company would not pay for his dog to be kenneled
when he was at a trade show. "You pay for babysitters, so
why not for pets?" he asked. Then he was equally stunned to
learn that when it comes to pets or kids, employees are basically on their own. Finally, impress upon your employee the
importance of submitting an expense report soon after returning from a show.
Bonus tip: Someone once shared with me that he asks
for a receipt for everything - even when the company does
not require a receipt. He thought it was too easy to forget to
include that morning cup of coffee or the $5 hot dog at the
snack bar, so having receipts for everything was a way to
remember what he had spent.
Help your newbie make a plan. Set goals,
make an agenda, and tell your newbie what you want them
to accomplish. You may want them to check out your competition or attend a news conference or work the booth.

You may give them a list of people to meet. Arriving at
a show and wandering the aisles is not the way to get the
most out of a show.
Tell your newbie that he or she is your
company's ambassador. There's no going incognito when your name and company are pinned to your chest.
When at a trade show, you are on display, and that calls for
always conducting yourself in a professional, honest, courteous and appropriate manner.
Here's a war story that has the added benefit of being true.
When I worked at an aviation magazine, a young editor was
sent to the 50th anniversary celebration of a company. For
some reason, this young man literally fell asleep during the
celebratory dinner. The unhappy (and rightfully miffed) host
photographed him snoozing and sent the photos to this young
man's boss. It was not a happy day for anyone the day the
photos arrived.
Share your own personal wisdom from
attending dozens of trade shows. If someone
were attending their first trade show and asked my advice,
in addition to what's offered here, I would add two things. I
remember my first trade show and felt as if everyone knew
everyone and I knew no one. And that was basically true. A
kind person told me that by the next show, and the next, I
would also know many people. He was right.
The second hurdle I overcame as a trade show newbie was
the ability to make small talk. I originally thought if I said
anything at a booth I was visiting, it had to be some brilliant
corporate insight or cogent comment on a developing trend.
What I came to learn is that at trade shows, small talk is, in
fact, small. "When did you get here?" and "Did you fly yourself or come commercial?" and "Where are you staying?" will
cover a whole lot of conversations.
If you have attended many trade shows, all of this is second
nature to you. But for a person who has never been to a trade
show and is attending one for the first time, it's all new. Set
your young employee off on the best possible foot by spending 30 minutes filling them in with proper deportment during
a show, and both of you will reap the benefits. q
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Avionics News October 2019

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