Messe Düsseldorf North America - Trade Show Daily

Robert Self

Recent Posts

Slapped with Snow & Piles of Paper!

Posted by Robert Self on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

Winter is hard. Few can argue against that. It’s cold. The sun barely shines. Shoveling starts. Delays commence. And cabin fever sets. But despite the numb fingers and all, we would like to give you hope and remind you that brighter days are ahead!

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(Photo: Typical Chicago Winter - 2015)

Now, I don’t know about you, but when winter comes around I just tend to move slower – and we see the same mentality occur in the trade show industry. Sure, the main seasons for trade shows to occur are in early Spring and early Winter, but much planning for these shows occurs… well… now.

There are forms to fill out, documents to sign, invoices to pay, and more! We can’t allow our desire to remain sluggish take over! But when all you want to do is hibernate, how can you possibly keep up the momentum to plan for a show? Simply put, it’s the dedication that goes into a project that allows momentum to forge onward. Let me give you an example:

Two weeks ago our Chicago office was basically slapped by Mother Nature, who thought it funny to dump 19.6 inches of snow on the city - making for our fifth largest blizzard in Chicago’s recorded history.

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(Photo: There's an actual car under there)

But, being the thick-skinned, snow-savvy people we are as Chicagoans, we still trekked out in cold using our streets and the ‘L’ (our public transit system) to get around, as no travel bans were placed. I, for one, was one of those crazies – just out for a casual stroll to my Super Bowl Sunday gathering. NOTHING was going to keep me from the food, friends, football game, food, commercials, food, Katy Perry half-time show, food, and food. And for most Chicagoans alike, it was business as usual. (Granted there were a few… casualties. See: photo of abandoned car).

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(Photo: Abandoned cars remain in middle of Chicago streets
from previous night, blocking plows & tow trucks)

While many Chicago offices, including ours, placed our safety before work and allowed us to remain home considering the danger element, there were still people crowding the streets on Monday morning. Our office in particular saw an amazing turnout. Because we know our shows are time-sensitive projects, and we want to make sure we’re on top of our game. That desire to meet deadlines and to plan ahead for any road bumps we may cross brought us through the tundra and to our computer screens. For you, our exhibitors & visitors.

Here’s another: Currently, our building is experiencing some electrical issues unrelated to our particular office, which has made the heat go out. It is currently -15 degrees Fahrenheit outside our windows, while the west coast parodies what hardship feels like. Once again offered the safety to stay home until the issue is fixed, what did we do? We put on another layer, sucked it up, and came anyway.

You see, problems can come at you from all angles without you ever being able to see it coming (much like weather). But rolling with the punches, remaining optimistic, and most importantly planning ahead allows you to find the solutions. In this particular case the solution just happens to be an extra pair of long underwear.

Basically, any show that we organize for the early Winter season (i.e. September-December) undergoes heavy organizing during this, the dreaded dead depths of the late Winter season (i.e. January-March). But we’re here to send you reminders, give you calls, and motivate you. Many deadlines may be approaching for shows in your industry. So while winter is hard, the sun is rising earlier/setting later. The snow and ice are thawing (at least right before it freezes again). And the first day of Spring is next month! Besides, the groundhog reared his head nearly three weeks ago – so we’re half way out of the woods! So here’s to early planning! And if you ever have questions or doubts, you can always reach out to us! Our contact information is below!

Contact us!
Website: www.mdna.com
Phone: (312) 781-5180
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @mdnachicago

Topics: MEDICA, trade show, Düsseldorf, Messe Düsseldorf, International Trade Shows, GDS, REHACARE International, Trade Show Planning, Messe Dusseldorf North America, Chicago, Compamed, CARAVAN SALON, A+A

The Season of Thanks 2014

Posted by Robert Self on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 @ 13:57 PM

As late November rolls around each year, we begin to prepare the extensive lists, arrange invitations, reconnect with relatives, and finally, gather for a time of thanks. This routine, while most commonly associated only with the Thanksgiving holiday, is reflective of trade show management. Therefore the MDNA team would like to take a moment for giving thanks to all of our exhibitors and visitors.

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First, we would love to give the most obvious thanks: thank you for doing business with us. Without your commitment to our shows, we wouldn’t be here. Plain and simple. We love our job. Seriously. To us, it is the best gig because 1). we get to interact with our clients to form more personal bonds – 2). our job is like a puzzle, piecing together the many different components to a successful show, and we love a good game – and 3). we get to see an amazing end product at each of our events, and we even get insights into the future of multiple industries, from medical, to wine, to energy sectors! With your cooperation, we get to keep doing what we love, and we couldn’t be more thankful for that.

Second, we are thankful for the open communication you, our clients, have with us. Preparing for a show is no joke – we understand you have a serious job on your hands! When you think about it, you have to organize the booth, designs, shipping, contracts, budgets, meetings, flights, ….. need I go on? You deserve so many kudos for all that preparation and work. Because there is so much to keep track of, we are thankful whenever you seek reminders, ask questions, learn about European shows, and follow up with our marketing efforts. We also love it when we get suggestions, because the end-user experience is what we strive to perfect.

Now, as you have probably extrapolated from previous blog posts, we feel close to our clients. So for our third “thank you”, we would just like to say we are thankful for those aforementioned relationships we form with our clients. That open communication could very easily be cut and dry, question and response, bland and boring. But you choose to talk with us every time. You choose to greet us like old relatives each time we meet at a show. Essentially, to repeat myself, you make this the best job.

We wish we could go on at length about everything, for which we are thankful, but we simply wouldn’t have enough time. Most important for us is that we communicate these thanks to our exhibitors so that it is well known that we value the partnerships we form. We want you to know you are in good hands, and that we sincerely try our hardest to make your experiences the best they can be.

The holiday seasons are upon us, but winter doesn’t have to be as scary as in Game of Thrones! This season is for family and friends, but we believe there is no harm or foul in extending our love of the season to our clients, business partners, and colleagues. So take a quick moment to let us know what you’re thankful for this year. And while you’re at it, spread the cheer around your own office. After all… ‘tis the season!

Contact us!
Website: www.mdna.com
Phone: (312) 781-5180
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @mdnachicago

Topics: Düsseldorf, mdnachicago, Messe Dusseldorf North America

Advice to New Exhibitors at MEDICA 2014 from a Newbie

Posted by Robert Self on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 @ 13:43 PM

So, you’ve made the cut. Your application was turned in. Your acceptance letter has come back. You set forth all those last minute booth design details. You coordinated the logistics. And it’s official. You’re going to MEDICA. And you’re hoping you’re totally prepared as a first-time exhibitor.

Well, don’t fret. As a newbie to the game myself, I can commiserate with the overwhelming feelings the trade shows as large as MEDICA can present. But I have a few tips and tricks to help ease your mind. And for those who’ve even attended for 20+ years, you might find this refreshing!

1. Ask for Help.

It is true that you are travelling to Düsseldorf, Germany, where the German people speak German. But if you’ve never been abroad before, I can tell you it is far more common than you think for people to speak English – both inside the fairgrounds and out! If you are lost, confused, or just want general directions to the nearest bar that sells Alt Bier, ask a friendly Messe Düsseldorf employee. They should be pretty easy to spot as they tend to wear uniforms with the Messe Düsseldorf orange ties or scarfs. They will also be carrying a nice name badge upon their outfit like this:

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2. Dress to Impress.

European trade shows do tend to be more formal than we are often used to in the States. It will not be uncommon for you to see even attendees at the show dressed to the nines. However, on this note I must add that comfortable shoes are a must. You may be very used to standing a lot at other trade shows, but the Messe Düsseldorf Fairgrounds are large enough for you to consider skimping on your workout regimen for a month (that’s including the Thanksgiving season, folks)! Wear professional shoes, but practice breaking them in first.

3. Bring enough Business Cards to Fill your Suitcase

Okay. Checking another entire bag may be a bit drastic. But it isn’t as common yet to see lead retrieval systems in Germany (for many many many cultural and legal reasons). European business still values face-to-face communication and handing over a business card is sort of like your receipt from that interaction. And you will be interacting. A lot.

4. Punctuality is Key.

American culture has trained us to set meetings and arrive “fashionably late,” meaning roughly 5 minutes past the set time. Germans are more culturally attuned to “on time is late.” So make sure you’re prepared. Know where you’re going, and even review a map of the city or map of the trains ahead of time. On that same note, it is best advised that you don’t pack up your booth early. It is more professional and formal to stay until the very last minute.

5. Relax and Enjoy it!

You’re here on business, sure! But the planning that it takes to exhibit at a show is usually harder than being present. I’m not going to advocate the motto of “90% of success is just showing up”, but I will advise you take a deep breath, smile for the attendees, and enjoy yourself abroad. In fact, with one MEDICA show under your belt, you deserve to pat yourself on the back, because now you’ll be über prepared for 2015!

Speaking of which: Make sure to keep those eyes peeled for the open registration announcement for MEDICA 2015 around early December!

If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns – get in touch with us at [email protected]. We’re happy to help. I also advise you follow us on Twitter @mdnachicago where we post helpful tips often!

Contact us!
Website: www.mdna.com
Phone: (312) 781-5180
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @mdnachicago

Topics: Germany, MEDICA, exhibiting, Düsseldorf, Messe Düsseldorf, Experience

Behind the Scenes Are the People

Posted by Robert Self on Sun, Sep 28, 2014 @ 19:22 PM

I am one of the newest members to the Messe Düsseldorf North America (MDNA) team. Actually, I am thenewest person to grace the office with my presence full time; the office is probably a little bit louder now. I’m walking into the trade show management industry with a rather fresh perspective.

I started with the MDNA team in January 2014. I haven’t even worked here a full year, and there is one thing I can say with certainty: trade show management is a team sport. We are a small office, consisting of roughly 12 employees and I have to say, it is impressive how much work this team truly takes on. What many exhibitors don’t know about us, is that we don’t only manage shows in their industry, but across multiple industries, and in multiple countries!

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Pictured (Top row, L-R):  Johanna Buehler, Justin Kesselring, Matt Spiekhout, Galina Yukhvid
(Bottom row, L-R): Sebastian Wille, Robert Self, Inga Otgon

 


Now, there’s a lot that happens “behind the scenes” of managing any project, and trade show management is no exception. In many ways, I go about my day as most people in corporate America do: I start my day with coffee and groggy “hellos” (and actually “Guten Morgens”) thrown about. When I finally embrace the willpower to check my emails, the races start. Somewhere in here I black out, and come to around 4:30 when it’s time to power down and go home.


However, when you look closer, you notice the fine tasks that require careful attention – the many cogs and wheels that somehow (due to black magic, I’m sure) come together in the very end and produce some pretty immaculate events. But it’s no witchcraft. It is the careful planning, the ideas bounced off one another, the willingness to offer help that gets these shows where they need to be.

So who are these 11 other brave souls who manage trade shows at MDNA? For many “veteran” exhibitors who’ve attended shows for countless years, we are like the distant cousins who meet back up at each family reunion in Düsseldorf, Germany. They know the routine, and therefore have long standing personal relationships with us.

I have listened as each of our project managers rattle off the names of the people they know from company A or company B, and all from memory. I have witnessed as my colleagues reunite with exhibitors and exchange hellos as old friends. I have also been asked countless times how my colleagues are doing whenever they aren’t around. So for our newer attendees and exhibitors, whether in our pavilions or in individual space, I implore you to get to know us for yourselves! We’re friendly, I promise! And we like to know you as well.

Being the newest person in the office can be daunting, but I know I have a network of helpful, friendly colleagues who don’t question extending a hand. So shake up the day and start a conversation; we may be busy, but we enjoy the interruption. It reminds us to put you first for customer service.

Contact us!
Website: www.mdna.com
Phone: (312) 781-5180
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @mdnachicago

 

Topics: Düsseldorf, Messe Düsseldorf, International Trade Shows, Trade Show Planning, Chicago, Social Networking