Around 2005 people were running around saying trade shows were dead. Everything was going to be virtual. Ironically after that panic, trade shows or face-to-face marketing grew faster than ever. Beyond the value of seeing and feeling product at booths, face-to-face meetings have long been seen as critical to building trust. People buy from those they trust. 

Well, here we are in the middle of a pandemic. Trade Shows and their companion events and conferences are being cancelled every day. Even if face-to-face events are able to return by fall the rules of engagement will be much different – social distancing, one-way aisles, limited numbers of attendees and lots of space between booths.

For the time being, this leaves organizers rolling out or considering the option of virtual events.

A year ago one of my heroes, Mark Albert who was editorial director of Modern Machine Shop, retired. Over the years he taught me many important lessons about machining, but others about life.  

It is this time each year that I revisit his year-end 2016 column on recalibrating for the new year. The holiday noise has started to quiet and it's time for me to take Mark's wise advice as I come off a tough year and step (bravely, I hope) into 2020. 

As Mark so aptly put it, it's a time to adjust my outlook and expectations. Following in his footsteps I am going to choose three words at work and three words at home that will help me reset, or recalibrate. 

dougMy friend Doug Davila who help organizations promote themselves and build relationships with their best prospects, gave me permission to share this with you. It’s a great story!

“A while back, I attended a presentation from the head of digital for a major manufacturer of trucks and construction vehicles. When asked about lessons learned, he said "Speak English." He then referenced how internally they had a specific taxonomy for their vehicles and that was how they were referred to internally and inventoried.

There is a reason no one can pass up a good story. Brain scans are revealing that stories stimulate the brain and even change how we act. The classic language regions of the brain have long been understood, but it is only recently that scientists have come to realize that narratives activate many other parts of the brain. Words like cinnamon and lavender elicit a response not only from the language processing part of the brain, but also those devoted to smell. Researchers have also discovered that words describing motion stimulate regions different from the language processing areas.

The digital age has certainly made it easier to correct typos. Every time I’ve written something that was going to be printed I’ve held my breath.

Just last week I was assembling some press kits for a client to take to a trade show. All of the materials had been printed. The USB drives were being loaded. The call comes, “Mary, I’ve noticed a few typos.” Mind you, those materials had been reviewed by the client numerous times and had been proofread on my end. It turns out the name of the road his business is on was incorrect. I was off the hook because it was wrong on the show website which is where I got it. But nevertheless…it’s that sick-to-your-stomach thing.

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