Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.

April 2020

WFM Zoom Tips

Working from home these days, but still having to attend virtual meetings? Been there, done that. In fact, I’ve used Zoom to record interviews for my vlog/podcast for nearly four years. It’s not always perfect, in fact, usually far from it. But you can do a few things to make it much better, both for yourself and other meeting attendees.

One on one meetings

These are the simplest, as you might imagine. The main goal is to have a well-lit image and to have sound that is easy to understand.

Video: lighting is probably not critical on small intimate meetings. Not a big deal. But if you want better lighting, experiment. Some people like to go all out and purchase lights, such as ring lights, and get a green screen for a background so they can put up a fantastic scene behind them. Not that important. Cool, maybe, but in a sense it’s a distraction. Natural light usually works best, unless its backlight. If you are sitting in front of a window with daylight coming through, and your face is not well-lit, your meeting guest will see you almost as a silhouette. Close the blinds and get some light on your face.

Audio: If you can avoid using the microphone on your laptop or desktop, do it. I use a USB microphone with its own headphone plug. That way I get a good sound both for the recording and for the guest. If I can get the guest to use something other than their laptop microphone, their sound will usually improve. Not everyone has, or wants, a USB microphone, so you have to make do with what’s available. Often the sound from AirPods or the microphone from a pair of earbuds works well. Or at least better than the sound from a laptop microphone. The other downside of using the built-in microphone and speakers from a laptop is that the sound your guest hears isn’t as good as it might be with headphones of some sort.

One-on-Many Meetings

If you’ve got a meeting with more than a dozen or so people, know where your MUTE button is. It’ll come in handy when some guest has a barking dog nearby, or a train going by, or someone with a leaf blower outside their window. And yes, it’ll happen.

Mute yourself as well, when it’s not your turn to talk.

More Tips and Tools

Wirecutter’s article Use Zoom Like A Pro includes a lot of other items such as screen sharing, silencing desktop notifications, Zoom’s scheduling features, and keeping unwanted guests out of meetings. Lots of good tips here, worth a read.

Other Things to Remember

I upgraded to the latest version of Zoom in the past few weeks and was caught off guard with a new feature: the waiting room. It took me a few moments to realize that I had to manually allow guests into the Zoom room, when prior to that a new guest just showed up with video and audio on.

Also, when you log in now, you’re asked to join the audio. It’s a button at the lower left side of the app. If you don’t do that, other people won’t be able to hear you and they’ll just have to wave at you until you figure it out.

Keep pets and children out of the room. Yeah, right. Not always possible. But let other household members know that you’ve got a Zoom meeting coming up and need the space and time to make it happen.

Got other tips that I’m missing?

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, April 27, 2020: Ken Newman and Robert Middleton

We’re all in a quandary: what to do to work our way through the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic and still work with clients in a meaningful way. For this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, I caught up with two busy marketers, one in the tradeshow world, and one not.

Ken Newman of Magnet Productions and Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing agreed to sit down with me one-on-one in Zoom meetings. I was curious to get their take on what to do and how to approach the current unprecedented situation.

Ken Newman’s Magnet Productions

Robert Middleton’s Action Plan Marketing

This week’s ONE GOOD THING:

Foo Fighters Live in Concert 2006 Hyde Park London

How to Let People Know You’re Thinking of Them

WFH. Stay at home. Shelter at home. Essential businesses only. Restaurants closed. Event industry shuttered.

Are you staying in touch with your clients? Are you doing any outreach to prospects or have you just put it all on hold?

No one answer fits everyone as we are all dealing with the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic in different ways. We’re all in a different situation: some of us have worked at home for years but find that their clients are no longer as easy to connect with. Some of us have been furloughed indefinitely. Some of us have been able to collect unemployment, others are catching up with projects at home.

But the question arises: how do you let your clients and prospects know that you’re thinking of them? Sure, you can schedule a Zoom call, and maybe you should. You can send an email. You can pick up the phone.

But what if you took it one step further? I thought about the question and reached out to two promotional products professionals for ideas on what kinds of branded items might be appropriate to send to contacts to let them really know that you haven’t forgotten them.

Let’s start with Rama Beerfas of Lev Promotions in Southern California, who was a podcast guest in the past month or so. She offered several items that she felt would be worth considering:

  • Mini gourmet cookies
  • LED reading light with wireless charging
  • Aromatherapy candle in push tin
  • Wooden Stacking Zen Stones
  • Wooden Massager with Textured Wheels
  • Soft Touch Velura Throw
  • Earbuds
  • Ceramic Mug
  • Custom trail mix
  • Gummy bears
  • Smoked Almonds in Gift Box
  • Bubbles
  • Shake-a-Word game
  • Pick-up Sticks in Wooden Box
  • Oval Deck of Cards in Plastic holder

In other words, lots of good ideas for the WFM colleague. Check out the whole list with images and pricing breakdowns here.

Nicole Titus of Ipsenault Company based in Salem, Oregon came up with several ideas:

  • A box filled with movie night treats 
  • Stainless wine tumblers with a message to take part in an on-line happy hour sometime in the future
  • A bag of coffee/mug set with a message to schedule a phone meeting 
  • Adult coloring books and kid coloring books (as well as sidewalk chalk) to give families something to do while stuck at home (these are not very expensive so it’s a little trickier getting them to individual recipients).
  • Seed packets or other gardening-themed items (especially as we’re entering Spring)
  • Fitness products (for stay-at-home workouts)
  • Imprinted face masks (there are a few companies doing imprinted ones now)

She also referenced a number of stay-at-home kits that some of the production companies she works with have put together, including:

  • Business Travel kit: shampoo bottle, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, tissue pack, comb and ear plugs.
  • Chill-at-Home Work Kit: Eco Carrying Bag, ceramic mug, silver stylus pen, USB fan, rubber coaster
  • Office Essentials Kit: drawstring backpack, cork bottom mug, journal, wireless charger, super-glide pen
  • Home Office Kit: Eco-Carry shopping bag, spiral paper notebook, wireless earbuds, blue light blocking glasses, mouse pad, microfiber cleaning cloth, vacuum insulated tumbler, metallic gripper pen.

All of these items can be imprinted with your logo, and of course pricing can range from low and modest to high. It all depends on your budget and what kind of impression you’d like to make.

Want more information?

Click to link directly to Rama’s online presentation.

Download PDFs here and here to take a closer look at Nicole’s ideas.

Contact info:

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, April 20, 2020: Garrett Greenberg

The Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is monkey-wrenching so many things, it’s hard to keep track. One of the challenges that some people might face could include having to deal with a major home or business issue having to do with the building they live in or work out of.

On this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, we get a little away from the event and tradeshow world, to a more general home and business approach. Garrett Greenberg of Fortifi Financial works with a real estate program that is specifically designed to loan money based on the equity in the property, not on the home owner or business owner’s credit score or income. For example, a leaky roof or a cracked foundation may get worse over time if they aren’t dealt with. Garrett explains how it all works.

A look at how the PACE program works at the FortiFi Financial site.

PACE Nation Pace Programs.

This week’s ONE GOOD THING: Succession on HBO.

Taking Time to Review Your Tradeshow Marketing Systems

The tradeshow, event and conference industries are not dead. It’s just sleeping. It’ll awaken at some point again and roar to life.

In the meantime, time on your hands. Maybe, maybe not. I certainly have time on my hands. And I have to bring in a little income.

So, I’m driving for Uber Eats and delivering food three to four hours a day. Not bad money, actually, for the time involved. My older son, who’s in his late 20s, had been working as a cook in an upscale restaurant which had to close when the coronavirus restrictions here in Oregon went into place. When we went skiing together a month ago, he told me that he’d been driving for Uber Eats a few hours before he went to work, and then a few hours after he got off in the evening. Now that the restaurant closed, he’s doing it eight hours a day, six or seven days a week. Likes being in his car (it’s new), listening to music, and bringing food to people.

I thought, I can do this. And making a few extra bucks (it’s actually pretty good pay) was enticing. It took a short while to get signed up and approved, and now I’m delivering food from restaurants to people a few hours a day. Sometimes lunch, sometimes dinner.

It gives me a lot of time to think. And listen to rock, or podcasts. But definitely time to think.

And I got to thinking about systems. What kind of systems does it take for an Uber driver (or Door Dash or Grub Hub or any of those companies) to get an offer to drive, accept it, pick up the food and deliver it in a timely manner while it’s still hot?

The driver needs:

  • A car
  • Smartphone with app
  • Address to pickup
  • Address to deliver

The smartphone has all of those items, other than the car, built in. GPS. Mapping. Internet connectivity.

The customer needs:

  • An app to order food from
  • An address for the driver to deliver it to
  • A way to pay (credit or debit card) they can use through the app

The restaurant needs:

  • A system that receives incoming orders and gets them to the kitchen in a timely manner
  • Ability to prepare food quickly and have it ready for pickup within a few moments

As I drive from a restaurant to a drop off point, it’s common to get another offer to pick up another order before the current one is delivered.

During my drives, I keep thinking what an intricate system this is. What an elaborate dance it is to transmit an offer to a driver that’s in the area, about to drop off one order, to deliver another order. As an Uber Eats driver, it’s all optional. Don’t want that one? Don’t take it.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Then I get to thinking about the systems built around tradeshows and events. About what the show organizer needs. What the exhibitor needs. What the visitor needs.

Think about the systems that must be in place for all of that to work to a positive effect on a regular basis. Design and fabrication of tradeshow exhibits. Shipping, setup/dismantle logistics. Travel and lodging. Product development and production.

As a participant, you only can see and control what’s immediately in front of you. But as a tradeshow marketing manager, you can exert a lot of control over how your company exhibits. How your product is presented, how your company is represented by the exhibit and the booth staff. Who sets up the booth, who handles shipping and so on.

Now that the tradeshow and event industry is on hiatus, maybe it’s a good time to examine your systems that hold everything in place from your perspective and see what can be improved.

After all, while I don’t mind driving a few hours a day delivering food, I’d rather get back to the tradeshow world full time soon.

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, April 13, 2020: Rama Beerfas

When is a branded promotional product a good idea? You’ve seen them all, right? Pens, letter openers, tins of mints. But choosing the right promotional product for a company or product is as much an art as science. Rama Beerfas of Lev Promotions joins me to talk about the promotional products industry – and getting the right branded product for the right situation.

Find Lev Promotions here.

This week’s ONE GOOD THING: Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.

Tradeshow Exhibit Rentals: It’s there When You Need It, Gone When You Don’t

We’ve mentioned tradeshow exhibit rentals several times in this blog and on the podcast. Most of what you can learn about exhibit rentals is already here. But to make a finer point of it, let’s recap:

Pros of tradeshow exhibit rentals:

  • Don’t have to store the exhibit
  • Costs much less than a new exhibit
  • Easy to re-shape and move into different sizes
  • Short-term commitment
  • Flexibility
  • …and more

Cons of tradeshow exhibit rentals

  • Cost can add up: after renting a few times, you’ve paid for the cost of a new exhibit
  • Have to keep coming up with a new idea or design for every show
  • It’s not yours; after the show the money you spent is gone and you have no exhibit

Bottom line, there are no wrong answers. Only answers that fit an exhibitor’s specific needs, goals and situation.

But the final thing to remember about rental exhibits is this: it’s there when you need it, gone when you don’t. And sometimes that’s the best thing.

Check tradeshow exhibit rentals here.

Managing in a Time of Crisis

This is a guest post by Dominic Rubino.

Here we are.  The “what if” scenario is in front of us.

As leaders we need to be prepared so that we show confidence and leadership to our teams.

Now more than ever facts must drive our decisions.

I’ll keep this article point form and factual so it is easy to follow and put in place.

Crisis management is about communication. (See the green circle below) (1)

Controlling that communication is the key to keeping everyone calm and focused.

Ref: Springer, 1, 3

Listen ( see orange circle above)

All of your team will have questions. Get in front of them as quickly as you can.

Depending on the size of your company you might need to have an “all company meeting.”

This can be quickly set up on Skype if you have people working remotely. Contact me if I can help you set up a conference call using Zoom.

I will also be publishing a How-To document for Managing Remote Teams. Stay tuned for more.

Not only do the people in your company have questions, they want to know that they are being heard.  Create an easy way for people to get their questions to you so that you can answer them.

Ideas for Listening to your team

  • Set up question boxes in your shop and check them daily.
  • Hold a meeting.  Put up a whiteboard and ask each person one by one to call out their questions.
  • Walk the shop floor.  Now is not the time to stay in your office. Talk to people individually.
  • When people are asking you questions remain calm and let them get the whole question out.  Once they are done it’s helpful if you repeat the question back.
  •  Here’s an example of what I mean.  Tony stops you in the hallway to ask a question.

Tony- ..What are going to do if sales drop off and people don’t want us in their houses ?

You- “…Thanks Tony- so your question is how are we gong to keep on selling new jobs if people don’t want us in their houses?”

Measure ( see orange circle above)

Measurement means a few different things right now.

Facts are facts.

First- now is the time to rely on the strategic plan you built for the company.  (Those of you who work directly with me will refer to this as the OPSP, or the EOS Level 10 meeting.)

In that strategic plan we laid out your critical numbers,  flowcharts ( also called SOP’s),  and types of meetings that we need to have with our people.  Use those tools as much as you can.  Contact me directly if you have questions.

Second- as business owners we need to take the lead and make sure that we are getting our information from credible sources. Facebook, Instagram,  and “my friend told me” are not credible sources!  Establish which media outlets you trust the most, and refer back to them. For an example, this is Forbes list of trusted media outlets

I would suggest that you publicize these trusted outlets with your team as well- this way, your team will know where you are looking.

Talk ( see orange circle above)

Yes, I know that some of you reading this already think you have too many meetings.  (read my article in Forbes on this subject) In a time of crisis like this, those meetings are not for you – they’re for your team.

Your team is going to be getting information from somewhere.  If it doesn’t come from you they will find it from other sources.  Or, left without direction,  the loudest , most convincing voices will win out over fact-based points of view.

Tips for talking to your team (and still getting work done)

Get ahead of “talking”,  so that you aren’t caught by surprise.  Tell your team to expect an update from you at a pre-set time.

I spoke with a business owner just this morning and we put the following communications schedule in place with his company.


9 AM daily-  He will update the team on the latest information. His primary source  of information will be at this web address.

2 PM daily- He will update the team on the latest information. His primary source  of information will be the CDC at this web address.

If you are feeling ill. Send a text message to ‘NAME’ by 7 AM. Otherwise we’re looking forward to seeing you here!


The Toolbox talk/Safety meeting will be held at our regular time (8 AM ) for the duration of this quarantine.

The Huddle and Dashboard will be held at our regular time (10 AM Tues/Thur) in the boardroom for the duration of this quarantine.

Floor walks- I will be walking the floor daily. If you have questions, let’s discuss when I come by your station. Sunday nights at 6- He will update the team on the latest information. His primary source  of information will be the CDC at this web address.

Engage ( see orange circle above)

What this means is to slow down, really talk , really listen and don’t try to “Baffle with BS”.

Your team needs you now. Think about how they and their families will talk about your company after all of this blows over.  Because it will blow over.

Do you want them to say Our boss is a good guy.  We were kept informed and I felt confident that he knew what he was doing every step of the way.”


Do you want them to say “…it was really stressful I didn’t know from day to day what was going to happen.  I was worried I might lose my house.  My wife was asking me questions I just couldn’t answer.  I wish he had just been straight with me.”


Now is not the time to do this alone. If you have my contact info, get in touch with me now. We’ll put together a plan that works for you and your team.



Who is Dominic Rubino and is this information reliable?

Good question, I’m glad you’re asking. I’m a businessman, and for the last 20 years, I’ve coached, consulted and trained business owners on how to work smarter, not just harder.

I value reality over theory. I hate theory. You might want to know more about me and how I approach business turnarounds.

You can find out more in the following places


  • Christine G. Springer, Director of the Executive Masters Degree in Emergency and Crisis Management at UNLV

Check out the podcast interview I did with Dominic Rubino last year here.

Finally, here’s the time I appeared on Dominic’s Profit ToolBelt Podcast.

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, April 6, 2020: Heather Haigler

While many of us are working from home, trying to juggle work schedules with kid demands and more, we are looking forward to a time when things return to at least semi-normal. On this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, I chatted with Heather Haigler of Switch Four about their new tradeshow management software, WorkTrip – for the remainder of 2020 they are offering free access. Here’s the conversation we had about that and other things that were on our minds:

Links mentioned in the show:

This week’s ONE GOOD THING: free streaming for the next few weeks on EPIX, thanks to XFinity, where you can find all of the James Bond movies!

Selling in the Time of No Tradeshows or Events

The social distancing guidelines put forth due to the COVID-19 pandemic has effectively shut off a majority of the economy, like turning off a spigot. It would be easier to line-item the businesses that are open than those that are closed: grocery stores, drive-through coffee shops and some business offices. Ten million in the US have filed for unemployment in the past two weeks.

Ten Million.

The impact of this on the nation, on the world, is unfathomable.

I know many people who are sitting at home most of the day, binging TV shows or reading books or even playing board games or sharing music online. Others are making use of the time to learn a new skill, to tackle that novel, to write music, to create.

Others don’t know what to do.

If you’re still working, whether from home or in the office, and you have to sell to keep things going in the company, what do you do? What approach do you take?

I subscribe to several sales newsletters and thought I’d share a few thoughts. Some came from the newsletters, others from just my own experience. But here we are in a time where it’s difficult to even find someone to talk to.

First, when you call, it makes sense to ask your contact what approach their company is making. Are they putting everything on hold for the time being, awaiting the end of the social distancing and figuring they’ll kick back into action when the pandemic is over? Or are they moving forward with business as usual, as much as they can?

If it’s the former, tell them, that, ‘yeah, it’s a crazy time, I get it,’ and ask if you can send a quick email with your contact information so that when we do get back to normal they can reach back out to you. If it’s the latter, move into your typical sales questions to uncover any needs they may currently have for what you’re offering.

Seems appropriate somehow… (click to play the album!)

Another part of the equation is what you’re selling. If you’re in the restaurant supply business, chances are that your potential buyers are not even open, unless they’re doing take-out or drive-thru only. If you’re selling Personal Protective Equipment for health workers, you probably can’t keep up with the demand. It all depends on the specific products or services you’re selling.

Most people probably fall somewhere in between those two extremes. Which means you’re going to have to find a strategy that keeps at least some business coming in.

With millions stuck at home, that means people are going online to shop, they’re connecting via video meetings (Zoom is being mentioned dozens of times a day in the mainstream press!), telephone and email.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What shape is the company website it? Does it need upgrading? Can you add new products, new services and new ways for people to connect?
  • Are your social media platforms being updated frequently? With so much time on their hands, everybody is on social media.
  • Can you offer a digital version of your services? Lots of people are taking this time to create online learning classes or other ways of sharing their information.
  • Can you connect with others regularly? Sure! Some people are starting up regular Zoom meetings just to have a face-to-face connection with others outside of their home.

Bottom line: be there for clients and prospects. Don’t stop doing outreach, however that looks for you. Don’t be pushy but if you continue to think you can offer something of value, something that your clients and prospects can really use, keep doing it.

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