We asked the following folks how to maximize their time at Expo — or any other trade show, for that matter:
- Hemant Daya, Dayatech (HD) Australia
- Sherrie Edward, Archimedia (SE) Egypt
- Ankur Bhatt, Sound Sense (AB) India
- Mike Ranpura, Smart Life AV (MR) UK
- Sandra Rogers, Smartcomm (SR) UK
- Manuel Fernández, TrendHouse S.A. (MF) Argentina
- Karen Chugg, Intelligent Abodes (KC) UK
- Eric Crawford, The Loop (EC) Boise, ID USA
What’s the strategy for staying in touch with the home office? Do you set aside time to answer those emails?
HD: Anytime we attend a conference, it means traveling to a major city, which means our home office is thousands of miles away, as we are based in a remote area of Far North Queensland, Australia. The easiest methods of contact are good old-fashioned phone calls and messaging. We are also looking at using Microsoft Teams and other CRM apps for all messages, calls, files, customer connects, and so on.
SE: I usually do that during my downtime. It can be difficult, especially with the time difference between the different countries. I get most of my emails/communications done outside of the trade show hours. Jet lag can come in handy when its 3 a.m. and you can’t sleep.
AB: With the way our business works, there is never a way to schedule a fixed time to respond to emails/queries from the office. I must manage as the need arises, and hence, need to stay connected 24/7. I do this in two ways — by having all email pushed to my phone and have the mobile number I use in India activated for international roaming.
MR: I tend to let clients and partners know beforehand that I’m attending a show or event, if it’s likely they will get in touch. Emails do not get checked until the evening, and if someone calls, I either call them back after the show or take the call if it’s important.
SR: I always allow a little break of 10–15 minutes between meetings to check emails and return phone calls to the office. For exhibitions that are over a day, I use lunchtime to both network and catch up with work emails.
MF: One of the things I constantly work on as a leader is to improve my ability to delegate. I have an awesome team at home that takes great care of all important issues while I’m overseas or even when I’m attending a convention locally. I do check emails for urgent issues three times a day when I’m away — early in the morning, at noon, and before dinner. If anything requires my attention on the spot, my team will reach me at my mobile at any time 24/7.
What are the main trade shows that you attend during the year, and why?
HD: I attend CEDIA Expo and lock that into my yearly schedule first. Then it’s an order of priority based on what my schedule permits. I then focus on Integrate, local industry events from the Master Builders Associations and the Chamber of Commerce, and assisted technology exhibitions, including ARATA.
SE: CEDIA Expo and ISE. Our company mainly focuses on residential projects. These two shows offer a wide variety of manufacturers, courses, ideas, training, and experience in that field, and it is where I find all I look for to constantly improve myself, my company, and our client’s lifestyles.
AB: CEDIA Expo, ISE, and CES for training, new tech, and networking. We have made long-term business deals/relations with many contacts at such exhibitions.
MF: During the year we try to attend CEDIA Expo, ISE, CES, and InfoComm. The reason is very simple — they present all the innovation in the industry, and at the same time, we have the possibility of getting in touch with different people to expand the quality of the services we offer by learning from our colleague’s experiences. We also like to attend local construction events. The main reason is to have a close understanding on the need of our potential and current clients. Of course, one my personal favorites, are events like CASA FOA that face design from the point of view of construction.
What makes CEDIA Expo different from other trade shows?
HD: I find CEDIA Expo is the main event that brings together the most relevant information for our business. It’s where I am most energized and can immerse myself into the industry via amazing people and like-minded businesses.
SE: The thing I love most about CEDIA Expo is that I feel it is more focused, compact, and generally has a great vibe to it. The CEDIA education that is offered during the show is also one of the things I look forward to while I am there. It offers a wide variety of courses that cater to all different aspects of our field.
AB: The training, of course.
MF: I believe that the main difference that CEDIA Expo has with most of the trade shows that we attend is that the attendees feel something in common with each other. Somehow, you feel part of the same family or community where you can meet incredible people, who in another area, could be inaccessible. The warmth you feel during the show and the peripheral events makes you feel very comfortable and very welcomed.
EC: A focus on the custom channel. There aren’t other products like cameras, fitness gear, car audio, etc.