Having just returned from my first ever Euroshop – both as visitor and exhibitor – I thought I’d impart a few words of wisdom for those planning on doing the same. Morplan exhibited there for the first time and although other staff had been there on a regular basis, it was my very first time.
Lesson 1 – take a seat with you. Or a cushion. Or a newspaper. Anything in fact that will let you sit down for a few minutes. There was seating on most stands but I didn’t have the nerve to pretend to be interested in a product just so I could take a break. There was nowhere to sit if you just needed to rest. Even the snack shops didn’t let you sit down!
Lesson 2 – avoid eye contact! I was there just to absorb trends and ideas – not to purchase – and looking directly at an exhibitor was usually enough to instigate a conversation that would waste everyone’s time. That said, some were so pleased to meet a fellow Brit that they were happy to talk about just about anything to keep you there.
Lesson 3 – when on a competitors stand expect to have an escort within a few minutes of arriving – they might not feel entirely comfortable with you being there. Which was odd, because we were perfectly happy to talk/ show off to rivals on our stand. Note: avoiding eye contact in this instance makes you look shifty – tell them everything is beautiful and look vague. That usually sees them off.
Lesson 4 – wear comfortable shoes. Expect to walk for miles – literally. The venue is so big there are shuttle buses to take you from one hall to another but the bus stops are apparently a secret so your chances of actually using one are pretty slim…
Lesson 5 – Don’t pick up every brochure you see – just the ones that contain something that you will find genuinely helpful when you get home. As a team we ended up with so much stuff it had to be loaded into a suitcase and left for the lads breaking the stand down to bring home on the truck. None of us could lift it.
Lesson 6 – Get plenty of sleep. It’s lovely eating and drinking with colleagues in the hotel at the end of each day but if you don’t get to bed early enough you will actually hate them in the morning and that sort of wipes out the bonding experience that these events can be.
Lesson 7 – Try not to complain about sore feet, aching back, stiff shoulders, dodgy pillows, weird food, headaches or tiredness. You’re all in the same boat and no one wants to hear it. Just wilt quietly in a corner when you’ve had enough.
Lesson 8 – When on the stand keep your eyes peeled. There are so many samples and freebies around that people assume if it’s not nailed down it’s up for grabs. That doesn’t excuse the overnight theft of some of our building materials though so make sure the stand is secure when you’re not there too. Having said that, fellow exhibitors are more than happy to help out.
Lesson 9 – Having vehicles serviced before driving to Germany is not necessarily going to guarantee safe arrival. Have a back-up plan in place. When stand-building time is short, losing a day rescuing staff or materials stranded in Belgium is not ideal.
Lesson 10 – And finally, take a moment to absorb what’s going on there. Over 180,000 people from all over the world converging on one little town in the middle of Europe, all looking for the next big thing. It’s like Glastonbury for businessmen. And those of us just wanting to absorb ideas and trends.