Monday, October 24, 2011

DBIA, Newforma and confessions of a tradeshow junkie

I admit it. In years past, I have been a candy-scarfing, koozie-snagging conference attendee who zipped through the aisles of tradeshows on my way to redeem my drink coupon. But now I’ve experienced the other side of the booth, and I have a changed perspective.

Dustin Anderson, Dan Conery and I attended the Design Build Institute of America (DBIA) annual expo in Orlando last week. This was my very first tradeshow as an exhibitor, and I sure learned a lot!

For instance, tradeshows have an interesting behind-the-scenes economy. Who would have thought that you rent the square of carpet that marks your booth? And I’m so glad I brought my most comfortable shoes. Not because I was standing a lot at the show, but because it surely was 2 miles from my hotel room to the exhibit space on the opposite side of that enormous complex.

I also learned that Newforma has developed great name recognition over the past 5 years. It seemed every person I met had used Newforma in some capacity—either directly as our customer, or as a team member receiving Info Exchange transfers.

I was glad that we had plenty of time to talk with our visitors at the show. We had the laptop queued up so that we could give a quick overview—or an in-depth product demonstration—to people who were new to Newforma. Current customers stopped by too, and we could show them the newest features and get feedback on their priorities.

The next time that I’m an attendee at a tradeshow and you are an exhibitor, I promise that I will stop by your booth. I’ve learned that meeting each other in-person is the most valuable part of a conference, so I’ll be sure to visit with you for at least 10 minutes…on my way to redeem my drink coupon!

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