What a gorgeous week to be in Seattle! The weather was more that gracious to the thousands that poured into the port city for Microwave week. All of us at Transline had a great time connecting with friends and customers from all over the country and enjoyed the rare privilege of all being together in one city. Seattle was a stunning backdrop with all the sights and sounds of The Pike Place Market, Elliot Bay and the towering Space Needle nearby. Everything we needed was well within walking distance of the Washington Convention Center. It was a short trip to Seattle center, via Monorail or taxi, to see the Space Needle or the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit (my personal fave!).
Although the number of attendees is forthcoming, the sessions and exhibit floor were bustling and appeared attendance was strong. The exhibition was held in two adjoining halls connected by a towering, sunlit atrium where Rogers Corp. and a few others set up their booths. Unfortunately this created some disconnect and many thought the back hall was not part of the IMS exhibit. Others were just plain tired out by the time they took in all the front hall had to offer. Walking from one hall to the other, there was a marked difference in the amount of foot traffic. Since we have only been exhibiting at the show for 4 years, we lacked the seniority to secure space in the front hall—so we dwelt among the grumbling exhibitors in the back hall. We were just inside the second hall and one aisle over, which appeared to be a good spot—on paper! However, a large neighboring booth set up an L-shaped wall in the rear of their booth for storage which inadvertently cut off a half-dozen booths that lay behind—us among them.
And that, my friends is just how the cookie crumbles sometimes at a tradeshow! Try though we may—things don’t always work out as planned. At this point it is natural and easy to grumble and complain along with others eager and willing to jump on that bandwagon. IMS is typically our strongest show of the year and I was directly responsible for committing precious marketing dollars for this show. (Gulp..!) So, when I got lemons…I needed to get busy making lemonade! I was able to make productive use of the evening parties we attended and still had a lot of fun along the way. On Thursday, both halls were very quiet, so I used the time to walk both halls and connect with fellow exhibitors with whom I would like to do business. It ended up working out just fine in the end. Between the leads I gathered and the booth visitors we saw, we ended up with respectable numbers and some exciting opportunities to pursue.
My lesson is that situations, in and of themselves, are neutral. What I choose to do in response to them is always my choice. If you spoke to 100 people at IMS, you would hear 100 different experiences from the same event. Some positive, some negative, and some neutral—but all of them would be subjective.
Do I wish we didn’t end up in the back hall, or behind a large wall…You bet your life! Did I let it turn me into a grumbling, defeated whiner? No way! I got to visit a remarkable city, spend time with some fabulous people (including my daughter who worked with me all week). I worked all day, went to parties every night and came home with a boatload of new opportunities to explore. So, I chose to take my Seattle, sunny side-up, and look forward to a better booth location in Tampa in 2014!