Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Published on Friday, January 13, 2017

Planning Ahead Can Be Easier on the Feet

Chicago Marathon

A friend of mine ran his first marathon last fall.


He set the goal of successfully finishing the race almost two years earlier. He started with 5k races. I know the first few were more walking than running, as my friend was not an experienced runner, and had been a smoker for several years.


running shoesFrom 5ks, he went to 10ks and then two half marathons before tackling the final goal. When I asked why he started preparing so far in advance, he said his goals were to finish, finish with what he felt was a reasonable time, and to come away without any injuries.


He told me a big key to “no injuries” was to make sure he wore shoes that were broken in a bit. Definitely not right out of the box. That would be a recipe for blisters and disaster.


Chicago Cubs spring trainingIn a few months, we’re heading to a favorite destination in Arizona. In March, the Arizona weather is a nice break from the Midwest and I get to take in a Cubs spring training game or two. 



Camelback Mountain, AZAlso when we visit, I make it a point to hike a few mountain trails, most notably Camelback Mountain. It’s not very difficult and many people do it, but I’ve made it a goal to hike it as long as possible, making it to the top and back down.


It is not a difficult hike, but I would definitely have trouble making the trek after four months of inactivity and hibernation in a Chicago winter. So a few weeks ago I began my preparation, working out alternately on a stationary bike, a treadmill and a StairMaster.


Hiking bootsAfter all, I want to be able to hike up and down the mountain before the heat of the day sets in, without pulling a muscle or worse yet, falling and breaking something. And while it is nothing like running a marathon, for me, it definitely requires preparation. Oh, and I’m breaking in new hiking boots too.


Planning for a trade show is really no different than preparing for a long run or a strenuous climb. You can’t just show up and do it. Ok, yes you can just show up without much planning, but your chances for success are definitely reduced. There’s also the increased likelihood of a few more stumbles along the way.


Instead of hitting the treadmill, trade show veterans recommend the following pre-event timeline:


2017-18 calendar6 Months - 1 Year until Show Time

Look at what shows are on your schedule, or new shows where you may want to exhibit. Budget accordingly and book your space.


3 - 5 Months until Show Time

Dig into the exhibitor manual. Establish goals and objectives. Will you be using existing properties, purchasing new or renting? Talk with your display and graphics partner so everyone is on the same page.


Collateral material2 - 3 Months until Show Time

What types of collateral material will you be sending? What other services will be needed-AV, special electrical requirements, shipping, etc.?


1 - 2 Months until Show Time

Order show services and get your EAC forms submitted. Discount deadlines are usually within this timeframe. Meet/talk with your supplier partners to make sure you have correct arrival dates and addresses, and everything else is on schedule.


Trade show floor2 Weeks until Show Time

Confirm, confirm and confirm. Make sure all show services are in order and everyone involved knows what is expected of them.


1 Week until Show Time

Buy new shoes and break them in. Show floors are hard on your feet!


Just like a marathon.


Steve Moskal

Hiking in AZ 

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Steve Moskal
Steve Moskal

Steve Moskal

Other posts by Steve Moskal
Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Steve’s journey in the trade show and event world started in 1983 with one of the original Nomadic Display sales organizations in North America. In 1994, he co-founded Prairie Display/Chicago.

Steve was an Allied Board Member of TSEA (Trade Show Exhibitors Association) from 2007 to 2011 and recipient of the TSEA President’s Award in 2009. He also served as Financial Chair of the Midwest Exhibit and Event Professionals (formerly the Chicago chapter of TSEA) and as a commissioner with the Elmhurst Economic Development Commission from 2011 to 2016. Currently he is Vice President of Education for the Addison/Elmhurst, IL Toastmasters Club.

When not working with customers and co-workers at Prairie, you can find him trying to spend more time biking and pursuing other creative endeavors. Steve lives in Oak Brook, IL with his beautiful and equally understanding wife of 26 years, Shelley.

Steve is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a B.A. in Journalism and a Fine Arts minor.


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