How to Choose the Right Apparel to Promote Your Business

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Originally posted by 4imprint 27 September 2016

You want to promote your business, organization or agency. It’s a job promotional apparel is meant to do!

If you’re worried button-down oxfords with an embroidered logo or screen-printed t-shirts aren’t quite right for you… we’re excited for you to meet the new generation of logo’d apparel. Yes, promotional dress shirts are still around. And, logo’d t-shirts are too. But, today’s promotional apparel includes hoodies, flannels, scarves, vests, visors, pants and more! Maybe that’s why so many people say they own logowear.

Bags, caps and outerwear account for 3 of the 5 most effective promotional products


A recent survey finds 58 percent of American consumers own a promotional shirt. Forty-one percent own a promotional cap. And 50 percent own comfy promotional outerwear or fleece. With over 116 million households in the U.S, we’re talking tens of millions of people wearing branded apparel.

What’s more, people wear branded apparel at the office and in real life. This means logo’d clothing is constantly building brand awareness. In fact, the same survey shows when it comes to impressions created per item, three of the top five promotional products in the U.S. are apparel: caps (more than 3,100 impressions per item), outerwear (more than 2,600) and shirts (more than 2,400).

The 5 Ts of Promotional Apparel

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your logo wear, choose styles your customers or employees will wear again and again. Here’s how to do just that!

The 5 T’s of promotional apparel include: target, timing, tailored, types and trends.


First, you need to know who will be wearing the clothing. Men? Women? Children? Is it for people within your organization or outside? Do they prefer dressy, corporate apparel or something sportier? Knowing who will be rocking your logo’d threads it is the first step in determining the branded apparel to choose.


The time of year matters. Where will your message be seen? For example, during cooler weather, sweaters, knit caps or insulated jackets help keep your name and message on the outside instead of hidden under layers of clothing.

Tailored to your audience

Whatever promotional apparel you choose, choose a style recipients will snap up. High-quality items will stand the test of time, be worn again and again and reflect well on your brand.

Types of apparel

Once you know your target, choose what branded apparel is appropriate. Among the most popular options:

T-shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, outerwear and headwear are the most popular promotional apparel items.

  • Logo’d T-shirts: These are the most versatile products available, including everything from fashion T-shirts to performance athletic tees. And they’re worn absolutely With an almost infinite combination of styles, fabrics, sizes and colors to choose from, branded T-shirts are a cost-effective way of building brand awareness.
  • Promotional polo shirts: Half-dressy and half-casual, a promotional polo shirt is the go-to item for corporate apparel, from the office to the golf course and everywhere in between. For a high-quality look, embroider a small logo or message on the left.
  • Imprinted Sweatshirts: Nothing says comfort and relaxation like fleece, especially the fashionable—yet practical—classic hoodie. Along with other outerwear, fleece is also the most influential promotional product for ages 18–44.
  • Branded Outerwear: Branded jackets and vestsavailable in many different weights and styles, perfect for keeping your logo visible in any type of weather. And if they’re well-made and look good, they’re kept more often than other promotional clothing.
  • Personalized Headwear: People hang onto hats for two reasons: They’re eye-catching and incredibly useful. They’re worn year-round and always put your brand front and center. Popular items include promotional baseball caps and visors.


Whenever you’re giving promotional clothing to an employee or customer, make it useful, attractive and modern. Doing so gives people more reasons to wear your branded apparel.

Building Brand Awareness through Promotional Apparel

With new styles of logowear being added all the time, it’s easier than ever to find a style that fits your organization. Follow the 5 T’s when choosing corporate apparel and you’ll be sure people will love wearing your brand again and again.

Get Ready to Visit Anaheim at Expo! Expo! 2016


Anaheim is ready to welcome you this December! If you think you know Anaheim, we challenge you to check out what’s new in town. Our food and beverage options continue to grow, and we like to blog about it! (Warning: Don’t visit this page if you’re hungry)

Join us first thing Tuesday morning for Sunrise Wellness Program on the Plaza, benefiting the Bob Dallmeyer Education Fund and Exhibitions Mean Business campaign. We’ll have something for everyone – recommended running paths, yoga, healthy snacks and massage offerings to gear up for your busy Expo! Expo! week.


Plan to support the Gift of Service benefiting the Orange County Family Justice Center. Donate your time on Tuesday morning, or donate items needed via the online event registry. Items purchased online will be shipped directly to Anaheim – no extra packing required.

We’ve got an experience planned to kick off Expo! Expo! with a blowout party and dinner on the Anaheim Convention Center’s Grand Plaza under the Southern California stars.

The Opening Party & Food Truck fest will feature pop star Andy Grammer as the headliner for the evening, performing his multi-platinum hit “Honey I’m Good” and “Keep Your Head Up.”  A full dinner will be served from Southern California’s pioneering food trucks, and Anaheim’s burgeoning brew scene, fine wines and craft cocktails will be flowing. Stay for the night, we wouldn’t want you to miss the al fresco party of the year.


That’s just the first day! Programing includes a behind-the-scene Sustainability and Security tour at the Anaheim Convention Center, where you can see firsthand how the largest convention center on the west coast prepares for our industry events.

Extend your stay and experience even more in our destination. Our partners at the Disneyland Resort have offered discounted park tickets exclusively to Expo! Expo! attendees. Take in the scenery along Orange County’s 42 miles of coastline, with stops in Huntington Beach – Surf City USA – Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach. Search for vintage treasures in the quaint antique shops of Old Towne Orange, or go big at South Coast Plaza or Fashion Island.  Many of our partners offer deals just for you through our Show Your Badge & Save program – all you need is your Expo! Expo! badge to save.

With three days of education, extended show floor hours and a full slate of networking, you need to rest up, come ready to network, learn and experience an amazing week in Anaheim!


When “Face Time” is FaceTime: How to Manage Virtual Workers


Originally published by Lindsey Pollack 20 September 2016

No longer just for hipster start-ups, even prominent companies – think IBM, American Express and 3M — now abound with virtual workers. In fact, nearly one-quarter of American workers currently telecommute at least part of the time, according to Global Workplace Analytics.

That means that whether you’re a new or seasoned manager, you probably manage someone remotely or will do so in the near future.

Working remotely comes with all kinds of benefits, both for employees and employers. But it also brings up new management challenges that we’re still figuring out. If you manage a virtual team, here are three key opportunities to build strong and successful relationships with employees based out of the office:

When they crave face time

FaceTime will never equal “face time,” but you have to use whatever technology you can to make sure that each employee feels equal in your attention, feedback and coaching, regardless of where he or she sits.

Be clear about how your team can reach you if they can’t just pop into your office. Your “open door policy” could become an open IM policy, for example. Or, if you normally have “office hours” from 9 to 10 each morning, let your offsite employees know that’s the ideal time to text or call you.

The key is to ensure that remote employees feel like they have access to you. Be mindful of how much informal feedback and coaching you give in person and seek out similar opportunities with your virtual employees.

Make sure your remote employees get just as much feedback & coaching as in-person employees. Click To Tweet

In addition to when, you’ll want to discuss how to contact you. In my book Becoming the Boss, I suggest having a “style conversation” to understand each person’s communication preferences and to communicate your own. Managing virtual workers is a situation where this understanding is imperative: Skype, for example, would seem to be a no-brainer but you can’t assume it’s a channel that every employee loves.

p.s. Just because you’re the manager doesn’t mean you automatically get to dictate how you and your virtual employees will communicate. The goal is ultimately to get the most out of your team, so make sure you’re taking into account their preferred modes of communication as well.

When you’re having a conference call

We’ve all been on those calls where we’re straining to hear the person who’s calling in from afar, or we’ve been the person calling in from the road and heard everyone in the room laugh at something we didn’t hear.

Conference calls can be brutal when you’re not in the room. So, if you’re the one leading the conference call or meeting, encourage participation from everyone, especially the people on the phone. You’ll also want to limit the side conversations happening in the room and either curtail them or summarize them for the virtual worker(s).

Finally, a note about logistics: Make sure everybody’s tech works to avoid that initial scramble of “Can you hear me now?” And, be mindful of time zones so that you’re not always making one region stay up late or get up early. The in-person office team shouldn’t always get to score the perfect time if you want everyone to feel truly equal in importance.

When the team is getting together

Lunchtime trainings. Team dinners. Birthday celebrations. Impromptu happy hours. Think of all the times that your team gets together in person, and how those informal functions foster camaraderie and team spirit – ties that virtual workers can miss out on.

I know budgets are tight for many offices, and sometimes all you can manage is one annual company meeting. However, I encourage you to think about what other chances there may be to bring in virtual team members to physically be with the group. While the big events are important, much of the bonding and coaching happens when you convene informally, and the team will be more cohesive if they see each other occasionally.

I have a unique perspective, since I’m often in the position of facilitating speeches or training that people have flown in to attend, and I see the power of people meeting and collaborating face to face. No matter how much technology we add to our lives, there is still something special about those moments.

Bottom line: It’s crucial to make sure everyone knows they’re an integral part of the team, whether they are sitting with you or not. Whether they are working virtually or in an office, people of all generations crave the social aspects and relationship-building opportunities that the office environment offers; it’s the reason co-working spaces have taken off so successfully. (I personally work in one!) That’s why smart managers are always cognizant of their virtual workers and make sure they feel like part of the team.


Expo! Expo! Offers a Varied Menu of Solutions-Based Education Sessions

David DuBois_cropped for WordPress

Originally published by Trade Show Executive, September 2016 edition

In last month’s column I talked about the various offerings you can expect at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition this December in Anaheim. This month, I would like to focus on the education programs we are developing because we are taking a unique and innovative approach to deliver the benefits and takeaways that the Expo! Expo! experience is all about.

Working diligently with the IAEE Education Committee, we are creating solutions-based education opportunities that attendees will be able to put to good use immediately following the show. Much of our efforts have centered on seamlessly integrating various learning methods that will not only cater to the different experience levels represented by Expo! Expo! attendees, but also engage attendees in peer-to-peer information exchange in ways that forge limitless possibilities.


It is not happenstance. For several years IAEE has been collaborating with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to create a competency model specifically catered to the exhibitions and events industry. This project has propelled our industry in leaps and bounds in terms of helping define our role in the big business picture. We all laugh when we hear the familiar questions from industry outsiders to the effect of What exactly is it that you do? or Exhibitions and events – what does that even mean? The strides that we have made with the DOL to segregate and define competency skills is groundbreaking, and we have applied the momentum of this success to our education programming.

Much of what we are using as our guide relies on neuroscience. Yes, there is a science for everything; including how to captivate a buyer/customer/attendee so they actively stay “in the moment” of the information being presented. We have taken this scientific approach to creating mindful meetings so that our offerings are purposeful and strategic in accomplishing the goals of a particular session. For example, our “menu” of “snack vs. buffet” education offerings range from small tastes of information such as the Campfire Sessions, Guru Gatherings, Tech SwimUp and TechCenter Showcase to the deeper-diving Mega Room Keyshops and General Session Keynotes which will give attendees plenty to chew on post-Expo! Expo!

CHECK OUT: Expo! Expo! General Session Keynote – Unmistakable: Why Only Is Better Than Best

But this is only part of the equation. We are fortunate to have an incredible resource amongst our members. Our volunteers on the Education Committee encompass decades of experience and serve as immeasurable fountains of information for the most sought-after learning opportunities. This peer-driven process affords us the advantage of implementing educational principles and standards that we know will provide maximum benefit to Expo! Expo! attendees. In essence, it is an education program customized by industry professionals for industry professionals.


This blend of outside-the-industry educational theories and methodologies, mixed with industry-insider knowledge and experience, has melded into an invigorating program we cannot wait to deliver. Not that you really need to think about all that went into it. We want you to walk into our beautifully designed learning environments and enjoy the experience of taking in the information that has been created especially for you, alongside fellow colleagues who love this business as much as you do. We have outstanding speakers and presenters who will energize your approach to how you do business. And you will be given plenty of opportunity to bounce ideas off of, and learn from, associates in the process.


Stay up to date on all the latest education offerings, as well networking activities and show floor opportunities at And register before 21 October to secure the best rates on your Expo! Expo! experience.

David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO

5 Creative Ways to Make your Mark with Personalized Pens

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Originally posted by 4imprint 1 Aug 2016
By: Becky Dillenberg

Grocery store. Bank or credit union. School. Restaurant. Just think of the many places you pick up promotional pens each day. You’re not alone!According to promotional products industry research, more than 50% of U.S. consumers own promotional writing instruments like pens, pencils and highlighters. And, that’s what makes these tools such a great investment. They’re used so often that the cost for an impression of your brand is just 1/10th of a cent. Here are five creative uses for promotional pens.

How to use personalized pens

Distribute promotional pens at events and as trade show giveaways.

Amp up booth visits with promotional pens as creative trade show giveaways

Promotional products commonly make appearances as conversation starters at events and trade shows. To amp up the ice-breaking potential of promotional pens, get them in different colors associated with your brand. Pose a question like, “Which part of the country has the best summers?” Then, ask passersby to “vote” by taking a pen representing a geographic location. This little bit of conversation gives you the opportunity to start a conversation.

Personalized pens make a nice gift to welcome new employees.

Make new employees feel welcome

Make a great first impression while helping new employees feel at home with a first day, welcome gift. A tasteful pen, left at an employees’ workstation with a signed welcome card, is a great way welcome new members to your team. Best of all, employees can put these handy promotional tools to work for first-day note-taking.

Unique pens make nice employee recognition gifts

Reward and recognize employees with unique pens

Show your team you are grateful for their hard work with frequent, small tokens of gratitude for a job well done. (Research shows the number one reason employees leave their jobs is a feeling they are not appreciated!) Fun and unique pens are an inexpensive, yet much-appreciated, way of showing the love—plus they come in handy for just about anyone, too. And, when employees earn unique promotional pens, it’s a clear reminder of the recognition they’ve earned.

Pen giveaways to show customer appreciation.

Show customer appreciation with promotional pens

Show customers they matter. Imprint promotional pens with a fun message thanking customers for their business. Declare a customer appreciation day or customer appreciation week. Distribute the pens with a sincere thank you message from your team and invite customers to use the pens while filling out prize drawing entries.

Personalized pens make employee training a breeze.

Promote key tools during employee training

Want new and existing employees to maximize use of your company’s technology tools? Invite visits by promoting the intranet, project management site or training site on stylus pens distributed during employee training. Include these useful tools with training materials to encourage note taking while encouraging on-going engagement long after the training is over. Best of all, you’ll build internal pride at the same time!

Whether for tradeshow giveaways, staff gifts or employee training, personalized pens are the perfect way to make a lasting mark.

Becky Dillenberg

Becky Dillenberg

Becky is 4imprint’s Marketing Manager for Public Relations and Content, and has been with 4imprint for 7 years. Becky writes about how promotional products can help organizations grow and spread their messages, as well as 4imprint news.

Read More by: Becky Dillenberg

IAEE Interview with Cynthia Cortis, Events Director, SmithBucklin


Nicole Bowman, Vice President of Marketing & Communications with IAEE, sat down with Cynthia Cortis, Events Director with SmithBucklin, to gain insight on the appeal of China and international considerations when planning events abroad. Cynthia has been in the exhibitions and events industry for more than 20 years.

Was this a career of choice when you started or something you stumbled into?

I stumbled into it. I have my degree in economics, and I started my career as an investment banker. The company I worked for in Beverly Hills, California, did very high-end events for its clients. I was quite jealous of my co-workers who went to events at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and planned dinners for famous people, while I was crunching numbers in the basement. That’s how I discovered that event planning could be a great career.

You have over 15 years of experience in conference production and management. Have you been with SmithBucklin for the majority of your career?

I started in Los Angeles doing corporate meetings mostly in the technology world with Microsoft, Cisco, and IBM and then moved to Chicago to take a position with SmithBucklin, and yes, I have been here about fifteen years.

Let’s jump into the appeal of China. In your opinion, when did show organizers start taking notice of China as a destination and revenue generator?

I think they started taking notice just after the doors opened to China. It’s been on people’s radar for fifteen years or so, but the infrastructure just wasn’t there. It’s been relatively recent that we have had the ability to do business there.

If the Visa Waiver Program, which they are thinking of changing to the Trusted Traveler Program, included China, how much of an impact do think that would have on the exhibitions industry in the U.S.?

I think it would be absolutely huge and not just for the U.S. It is difficult for people to get into China for meetings as well as getting out of China for meetings. I can only imagine that we would see huge increases in attendance from the people of China. A huge impact both ways.

In your own words, what do you think is the appeal of China? 

I think what everybody sees is a huge new market. My clients are interested in China. I have an aviation client organization, and China has new airlines popping up practically every year. This is credited, in large part, to their strong middle class, and the fact that more Chinese nationals are traveling. China has so much growth potential, and businesses want to be part of that growth. As for my clients, whenever we are researching a future destination, China keeps popping up.

As an event provider, is it difficult for you to get demographic information on citizens in China or does the government make that fairly easy to obtain?

It’s not really an issue for the meetings that I do. We work with our associations – who have members working in specific regions – to identify and reach out to those potential attendees, members, sponsors, speakers, etc. They have the data and a clear understanding of the market there.

Moving on to international considerations, priorities and concerns, what are your top three considerations when you are planning an event internationally?

Quite honestly, it’s the same as a domestic meeting. Some of the first questions I ask:

  1. Is there a market? Is there a need for us to be there? Am I artificially creating a market?
  2. Is it a place that is easy for my potential attendees to get to, as opposed to somewhere like Russia, which has had a difficult visa situation?
  3. Right now, what are the perceived safety issues? A year or two ago, my third answer would have been the attractiveness and affordability of the destination. But my clients are sophisticated travelers, who are willing to go just about anywhere if it’s safe.

What has been your biggest success internationally?

Some of my biggest international successes are the Asia Aviation Show, the America Aviation Show, and the Europe Air Show. Four years ago my client put on a seminar in Beijing in conjunction with a local university. It was only going to be a seminar, and the first year we had 25 attendees, second year we had 40 attendees, and we just completed our show in Tokyo this year that had 700 attendees. Our sponsorship revenue in Asia has grown to match sponsorship revenue at our meeting in in Europe, which has been around for 20 years. We’ve seen a 300% growth in membership. Watching a market grow so rapidly has been exceptionally rewarding and very fun to watch. A lot of shows have been around for 50 years and you don’t get to watch them develop and grow.

This particular organization’s events have become very regionalized. Meaning, the content and speakers are focused on that particular region. You would not have the same speakers or programs that you would have in Orlando or Barcelona, and we are very proud of that.

On the flip side, what is the biggest challenge that you have had to overcome in Asia?

It would definitely be the first time that I did an event in China. In Asia, the countries have significant differences in their business practices and regulations. Japan is really different than China and China is drastically different than Thailand. I didn’t realize certain things when we went to China the first time, such as that attendees traditionally do not pay to attend events because corporations subsidize the cost – that’s unusual in the association world. Also, in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo, or Seoul, I am accustomed to finding several members of the hotel staff who speak at least a little English. However, in China, the farther away from Shanghai you get, the less likely you will find someone fluent in English and aware of Western customs. That can be quite a challenge when negotiating contracts. However, there is a huge potential for an upside, so it’s well worth the undertaking.

You talked about how the regions in Asia are so different and how that can actually be one of the challenges you have to deal with. Is it because of cultural differences? Or is it more because of the way people do business?

I think it is just the way they do business. In Tokyo, things are very by the book. But in China, everything is up for negotiation. It also can be difficult in China to get things in writing. It’s just how people do business there. Your team is going to have to put in more effort to get agreements finalized, and it probably will take more time. However, since my first meeting in China five years ago, I have seen a huge difference in how quickly Chinese hotels and convention centers are adapting to working with Westerners.

If you had one piece of advice to give somebody who was going into a new Asian market for the first time, what would that be?

Rely on your local experts and partner companies that have local offices and staff. They can tell you, for example, whether a particular cuisine is a good or bad choice for dinner. Don’t be afraid to rely on them because they are going to help you navigate the waters, especially when you go to places like China. Locals can be invaluable.

Take My Advice – Attend Expo! Expo!


As I write this I’m 29 years old.  I’ve been working in the world of meetings and trade shows since GES hired me right out of college. In 7 years and three positions, I’ve managed to carve out an actual “grown up” career where people seek my advice, and (most of the time) trust in what I tell them.

I’m lucky enough to work for the number one meetings destination in the galaxy. The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority  (LVCVA) endlessly supports my personal and professional growth and provides limitless opportunities to get involved and help others get engaged in this industry. To say I’m happy is an understatement.  What really jump started my career at the LVCVA was my involvement in IAEE’s 20 Under 30 program in 2014, when my current organization invited me to a focus group as a (then) client.

Learn more about the 20 Under 30 program then submit your nomination!

2016-expo-expo-20-under-30-buttons-nominate-yourself 2016-expo-expo-20-under-30-buttons-nominate-yp
Selected honorees will receive one full, complimentary registration to Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Anaheim, CA 6-8 December 2016, and lodging for three nights (over $1,400.00 value).
Deadline to submit is Friday, 7 October.

To put it bluntly, IAEE is to thank for most of the advancement I’ve made as a young professional in a “grown-up” industry.  It has led to countless work-turned-real life friendships and life lessons that I’m lucky to lean on every day. Expo! Expo! is the focal point of it all.

Go for the education.

Go for the networking.

Go so you can see the Mount Rushmore of industry heavyweights partying at a hotel bar.

Just go.

It’s an incredible investment in your career and you’ll see dividends immediately.


Use the Justification Toolkit to get your manager’s approval to attend!

justification-toolkitI currently chair the Young Professionals committee for IAEE and want everyone to be involved and see the benefits as I do.  While these kind of events can often be intimidating for young professionals, once you arrive, you’ll instantly regret not coming sooner. The warm welcome you’ll receive is one of the most rewarding feelings you’ll have. If you have questions or trepidation about attending Expo! Expo! or even chapter events PLEASE don’t hesitate to call or email me. Hoping you see you in Anaheim!


Alex Land, CEM
Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority
2016 Chairperson
IAEE Young Professional Committee


CEM Faculty Spotlight on Michael Dargavel, CEM

Michael Dargavel 299x299

Michael Dargavel, CEM is the Vice President of Association and Events Management, a full service, multiple association management company. Michael produces several events each year including four trade shows, which have risen in the Top 50 Canadian Trade Shows for the past six years. In 2006, Michael created the 100% Fresh Trade Show and in 2009, Michael created the highly successful Profile Show, an apparel show incorporating all commodities of the industry. Michael assists in overseeing the daily operations of the Canadian Association of Exposition Management Association (CAEM) which partners with the IAEE to provide the CEM program in Canada.

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been in the exhibitions and events industry for 16 years. Prior to this, I was in the hospitality industry for over 20 years

How did you become involved in the industry?

Honestly, by accident! I was asked to come help with some event work and never left. I fell in love with the excitement of preparing for and opening an event.

What are your responsibilities in your current role?

I work at an association management company (AMC) that caters mainly to non-profits. I have several rolls for different clients – Show Manager, Director of Events, etc. Basically I head up the Exposition and Events department for our clients.

What drives your involvement with IAEE and the CEM Learning Program?

Giving back to the community. Professional development is one of the most important aspects to enhance your career.  I believe that you get so much more from volunteering than you give.

View the CEM Learning Program Calendar

When did you become a member of the CEM faculty?

In 2010, I went to my first faculty training, I have been hooked ever since.

What was your most memorable experience from teaching?

A couple of years ago, I got a message from one of my students saying how much they enjoyed my class and that they went back to work armed with new ideas to do their job more efficiently.

Do you have any advice for other CEMs who may want to start teaching?

To borrow a phrase “Just Do It”.  It is one of the most rewarding experiences. It is not just the students who walk away with new information; the experience and knowledge flow both ways.

What are a few of the benefits of teaching CEM?

Meeting new industry people, learning new ideas for the class that I can use in my work-life, travel and keeping abreast of industry trends, technology, and services, just to name a few.

How has the CEM designation helped you in your career?

We actually were awarded an account partially due to the CEM designation and knowledge.

CEM Salary Inforgraphic_Freeman

Are you involved with any other committees or boards with IAEE or another industry association?

Yes, I currently sit on the CEM Commission, past chair of the CSAE Trillium Summer Summit, CAEM Education Committee.  I believe I get back so much more from volunteering than I give.


Pure Gold: Workplace Lessons from the 2016 Olympics

pure gold

Originally posted by Lindsey Pollak 19 August 2016

The explosive power of gymnast Simone Biles.

The incredible determination of swimmers Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps.

The feats we see at the Olympics are the result of discipline, grit and hours and hours (and hours) of practice. They showcase teamwork, focus, communication and dedication – coincidentally, all traits that make for a great employee.

As the spectacle of Rio winds down, let’s reflect on some workplace lessons we can learn from the Olympics.

Make It a Habit to Note Career Milestones –- Good and Bad -– to Improve

“Keeping a training book to look back on all of his workouts and successes, [Kenyan runner Eliud] Kipchoge has recorded each run, each piece of the training puzzle, so that when it’s time to compete, he can look back and ‘know he has done everything. It gives him the confidence to go and deliver.’ … Keep track of your accomplishments, career goals—wins, misses, setbacks and achievements. Take note of everything from where you hope to be five years from now to what kind of feedback you got at your last performance review.” —  Read more at The Muse.

Sometimes Even The Most Thankless Job Can Be the Most Important

“The Olympic swimming pool has lifeguards, just in case someone like Michael Phelps, winner of 18 gold medals, needs to be rescued. … The odds are small. ‘It’s a one-in-a-million type of event, but we’re prepared,’ said [Anderson] Fertes, [a health-club lifeguard from Rio]. …  [Danielle] Martelote, [the lifeguard supervisor at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium] and some of her charges stayed close to Phelps and kept a sharp focus on him as he trained on Tuesday. He was the one they watched most intently. ‘We joked to each other, ‘We’re here to save him!’ she said. ‘But we hope and expect that all the athletes will be fine.’” —  Read more at New York Times.

Talent Recruitment Must Be Ongoing

“While the Olympic Games happen once every four years, [Max] Siegel, [CEO of U.S.A. Track and Field], says his team is constantly preparing for it. Finding the highest-caliber athletes for the Games means being on the lookout for elite runners, recruiting them, and preparing them to compete in the Olympic trials when the time comes. This means tracking students as young as middle- and high-school age who show serious promise. ‘There’s a pretty robust and thorough analysis of the talent,’ he says, explaining that he has experts on staff who are single-handedly focused on assessing every aspect of an athlete’s capabilities.” —  Read more at Fast Company.

Shared Vision Leads to Success

“During the Olympics, all teammates have razor sharp focus on one specific end goal: to bring home the gold for their country. In the workplace, strategic goals are more likely to be achieved if your team is able to follow the example of Olympic athletes and share one concrete vision. Often this doesn’t occur because employees don’t know why the goals are important, don’t understand their roles, or even realize the specific goal and action steps needed. If you want your team to successfully work together to achieve one goal, you must clearly communicate precisely what vision they should all be sharing and why they should be engaged in it.” —  Read more at Spectrum Staffing.

Learn from the Wins and the Losses

“Chicago sports psychologist Jenny Conviser, who works with professional and Olympic-caliber athletes, said elite competitors who don’t reach their goals should realize what they gained from the attempt — attributes like tenacity, focus and the capacity for hard work. ‘You can walk away from competition and those qualities do not need to disappear,’ she said. ‘They allowed you to get as far as you did in your sport, and they can be applied to other pursuits.’” —  Read more at Chicago Tribune.

What lessons have you learned from watching the 2016 Olympics?

A Helpful Trade Show Checklist for Sure-Fire Success

A Helpful Trade Show Checklist for Sure-Fire Success

Originally published by 4imprint

If your company is exhibiting at a trade show, don’t leave home without this helpful trade show checklist. Trade shows can be a great place to interact face-to-face with current and potential customers, giving you the opportunity to build solid leads. But it’s important to have a carefully thought-out plan, from pre-show planning to post-show follow-up. This handy trade show checklist will help you make every trade show appearance a successful one.

Strategize 6 to 12 months before the show as part of your trade show planning.

6–12 Months Before: Set Your Trade Show Strategy

Start your trade show planning by creating your trade show strategy. Doing this first will make everything else easier and more focused.

  • Set goals. What objectives do you want to achieve at the trade show?
  • Set a budget.
  • Identify your target audience.
  • Develop a marketing plan for before, during and after the show.
  • Choose a trade show that fits your customer’s profile, and book a space.
  • Design your exhibit, including graphics, displays and layout. Keep in mind what you want to communicate to the customer, and consider your technology and presentation needs.


Trade show planning begins 3 to 6 months before the show.

3–6 Months Before: Start the Trade Show Planning Process

With your strategy as a guide, determine how you’re going to communicate your message most effectively. And start marketing: Building buzz early can reap great rewards later.

  • Book a block of hotel rooms, even if you don’t know who will attend. It’s easier to change attendees than to hunt for rooms at fully-booked hotels.
  • Determine what literature and marketing materials you’ll need and prepare them.
  • Order promotional giveaways. The best pieces provide value to your customer and will make your brand more memorable.
  • Start pre-show marketing: Send information to attendees with your booth contact information. Send out press releases. Promote your presence through social media.


Finalize your trade show planning 1 to 3 months before the show.

1–3 Months Before: Finalize Event Plans

Continue building momentum. Get your customers and booth staff excited about the trade show.

  • Prepare follow-up materials. If these are ready before the show, they’ll be ready to send out immediately afterward when conversations are still fresh in prospects’ minds.
  • Make travel arrangements.
  • Train booth staff.
  • Contact the event sponsor for any last-minute details.
  • Schedule meetings with prospects and other customers. They have busy agendas, so make sure they have time set aside to meet with you.
  • Finalize production of all marketing materials and booth displays.
  • Order promotional apparel for your team to give them a polished, professional look in the booth.

A trade show checklist can help you prepare for the show.

1–4 Weeks Before: Prep and Pack for the Trade Show

Finalize all the details. The more fine-tuning you do, the smoother and more effective your trade show presence will be.

  • Prep and package booth equipment and confirm shipping arrival dates.
  • Prepare a competitor trade show checklist to see how your brand messaging and strategy compare.
  • Give your team a master contacts list in case things don’t arrive on time. Include cell numbers for team members, tracking numbers, vendor information and trade show details.
  • Put together a two-bin supply kit. Place office supplies in one and team resources (cold and allergy medication, lint rollers, stain pens and mints) in the other.
  • Make cheat sheets for booth setup and quick reminders for the team, including lists of conversation starters.
  • Role-play meeting with leads. This prepares your staff for interacting with visitors.


See your trade show planning pay off the day of the show.

At the Show: Go For It!

The hard work is over. It’s time to have some fun! Be as professional as possible and make notes for every interaction. Even the smallest observation can go a long way in making a connection.

  • Smile and greet visitors. (Follow a ‘no phones’ on duty rule with your teammates to maximize interactions.)
  • Trade badge scans or business cards for promotional products. (These little workhorses are a great way to introduce yourself and put your brand in front of your prospect even after they go home.)
  • While scanning badges or collecting business cards, talk with prospects about their needs.
  • Make notes about post-show follow-up you’ll complete to turn prospects into customers.


Follow up after the show to ensure your trade show planning pays off.

Afterward: Follow Up

This is the most important part, next to the strategy. A detailed analysis of prospects, customers and the event itself will set you up for future trade show success.

  • Organize leads and follow up right away. Be sure to give 2–3 methods of response, such as a demo request, white paper download, or newsletter subscription.
  • Evaluate the show. What worked? What didn’t? What can we do better next time? And do we want to participate next year?
  • Review the budget and determine ROI.
  • Continue follow-ups throughout the year, including social media and blog posts.

We hope this trade show checklist has been useful. With a solid trade show strategy, planning and preparation, and post-show efforts, sure-fire success is in your future.

Source: A Helpful Trade Show Checklist for Sure-Fire Success


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Ostomel, Dana. “10 Lessons From A First-Time Tradeshow.”, 14 August, 2014. <>