Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for January 31st, 2010

Word on the Street — January 25th thru January 29th

January 31st, 2010 COMMENTS

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Presentation Surprises!

Let’s face it . . . it has happened to all of us.

  1. Your shipment of samples is lost by UPS or FedEx. Or, if they are packed with your luggage, your luggage arrives in Dallas but you are in Pittsburgh and on your way to Baltimore.
  2. Your presentation files are corrupted.
  3. You stop by just to “see how things are going.” It’s supposed to be a casual meeting with the “team” only to discover that the “team” is an audience of 30 people expecting a full-blown presentation.
  4. You go into a meeting planning to present one thing, only to find out that the audience is expecting something entirely different.
  5. Take your pick:  Your laptop crashes. The projector blows a bulb. The internet connection is down or is so slow that you start talking in single Slow-Mo syllables as each page loads.

The list could go on forever.

So what do you do? Here are a couple quick things that can help . . .

  1. I always have a copy of my presentation and website on a thumb drive. That way if either 2, 4 or 5 happen, you can react quickly and have something to show your audience. If you are like me and you travel a lot, you know that things get lost. Last year alone, this happen to me four times! What saved me was the ability to pull up images and a static version of our website off a thumb drive. This allows you to present, even if you do not have your samples or your laptop. You can drop the thumb drive into any machine and you are off and running.
  2. Always have at least 2 or 3 presentations available. Call them “canned” or whatever, but they are presentations that you can always fall back on in an emergency.

Last year I was set to present to a large group about doing business with Classic. For about two years, we had worked with a few folks within the business, but this was my opportunity to show the entire staff our capabilities. I was psyched, since this represented a potentially large account.

So I arrived and set up my laptop and projector, got all my samples out and placed them around the room, and then the staff arrived. I started with the history of the company, and iust as I was about to talk about the product lines and capabilities, one of the Senior Executives raised his hand and said,  “Kevin, I don’t mean to interrupt, but everyone here has a solid understanding of all that Classic can do from the purchase side of things. We held a separate meeting last week just to cover that. What we really wanted to learn about today was your Rental Program. Can you take the hour and get us educated on that specifically?”

Initially, to be honest, I was a little disappointed. I was ready to WOW them with the Classic pitch. And, I was a little irritated that no one had informed me that the meeting was to focus on rentals. But then I remembered that I had a presentation on my laptop that was just for rentals. In no time, I pulled up that PowerPoint and spent the h next hour covering exactly what they wanted to hear from me.

How about you? What do you do when the game changes at the drop of a hat?

Please share your comments via the blog comment section and have a safe and restful weekend!

–Kevin Carty