I have always loved those first few minutes when a tradeshow opens its doors. The air feels thick, like walking through a giant cloud filled with hope, excitement and anticipation.
You can spot the veterans – they are ready, sitting back, sipping coffee, saving energy; whilst the newbies walk quickly, look up a lot at the shiny lights and custom stands piercing the high convention centre ceilings and repeatedly stop dead in the isles, much to the dislike of those behind them, to consult the floor plan – again.
The opening of a tradeshow is for the organisers and teams behind them ‘show-time’.
Achieving the ‘doors open’ moment is the result of months and months of agonising work, countless conversations, guestimates and opinions, tweaking and pruning and bargains with the rain-Gods. Just so we can meet, talk and do business with ease, with style and together.
They are expensive, clunky at times and risky – but they work. Why? Because even with every gadget blipping and beeping around us and free-Wi-Fi zones expected, we still need to see, to hear, to shake hands, give cards and share an experience in the same air, if only once, to really do business.
And for as long as humans remain like this – we need to get on planes, have face to face meetings, hire meeting rooms and pay rent for boardrooms, because just like events, we are expensive to run, clunky at times and take risks. But that is part of the fun.
Felicity Zadro attended CIBTM, China’s leading meetings, incentives and business travel exhibition from 17 – 19 September 2014 at the China National Convention Centre (CNCC), Beijing, China.
Image credit: CITBM