Anna and I packed up our humble display threw it in the back of my new to me me car, and spent the last couple of days in Saskatoon at the SUMA convention. I was planning on sitting at the booth. We registered Anna as a full delegate, so that she could learn all she could at the SUMA conference. I planned to see an old friend...from my home town, one Gerald Aalbers, the honorable Mayor of Lloydminster, and to present "10 Things Your Administrator Wishes You Knew" to a small crowd that would be nice to me. It was wonderful to catch up with Gerald, as brief as it was, and there were a LOT more people at my presentation than I expected. Many thanks to SUMA for the opportunity, and for my hostess, Cheyenne Geysen, and my Board member intro Pat Jackson for saying such kind things about me as part of the intro.
All the plans came off, except the crowd was much larger than I expected. We were able to touch base with some of our existing customers, and to make some new contacts. It was a great trip, well put together and we really enjoyed it.
I got to see my sister, TWICE, eat good food, stay in a nice hotel, and network. Oh, and if you get the chance on your way through sometime, stop at Big Mur's at Dundurn. The menu itself is worth a stop, and the food is really, really good. If that were not enough, there are whimseys in the menu you won't want to miss. They actually have stupid questions on the menu, and if you ask one, they say it costs a quarter.
While it is still storming today at home and many of the roads were still closed earlier today, we managed to slip out shortly after my presentation on Tuesday night. Good thing too, because had we waited another hour we'd still be in transit somewhere.
I haven't been to a lot of trade shows, but I am a real people watcher, and the time went by really fast. Here are the things I noticed:
If you don't engage with the people walking by, they often don't stop. But if you say "hi" and smile, they will stop and ask what you are there for...and then sometimes they make plans to see you later. Staying on your cell phone and ignoring the passers by, even when they are elbow deep in your candy dish just seems like a waste of the hundreds of dollars somebody paid to promote their business.
We had a lot of comments about the realistic fake plants we had on our desk to brighten up the place. They looked really real, and attracted some attention. Winners, you did it again. Now I need some for my house. I prefer real plants, but I am kind of hard on them.
We were way outclassed in the popcorn department. We were going to bring a little popper, having read somewhere that it brings people over to your booth...but BCL was giving away a variety of flavored popcorn from a small business called LVL, Gourmet Popcorn in Onion Lake. Knocked that right out of the park BCL, everyone else was playing for second place. I ate some Chicago Mix, and thought it was well worth the smudge I left on my pants when I wiped my hand on my before I could shake a hand.
The next one is in Regina, and Gerald tells me there is one in September I need to be at in Alberta. We will see you there!