By: Betsy Jacoby-Greenleaf, Owner, Jacoby Expo

A Collaborative Effort

I love to use online forums, but they can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Many online forums can be what I call a mixed bag because you aren’t really sure what you are going to get. Much of the advice given on forums are opinions from people who have little to no expertise but love to share anyways.

Ill-advised advice is not so bad if you are asking about the best type of mattress to buy. It’s really bad if you take professional advice from people who have no idea what they are talking about.

The hallmark of a really good professional is being able to admit (even after years of experience) that they don’t know everything and are happy to seek out knowledge necessary to solve a problem.

Even though I’ve been in the trade show industry for years running my own successful expo and events business, I know that there is still more to learn. I have experienced most situations, but not all and if someone tells you that they have, they are lying to you. There is always more to discover because the industry and the world is always changing.

The truth is we all need to turn to someone else for advice on occasion and when I need to mentor a client on a situation that I don’t have as much experience with (as I’d like), I don’t hesitate to ask others.

MemberLink

For expert advice from people who are fluent in all things trade show, I turn to the forum on Memberlink, a no cost benefit provided by IAEE for members of their organization. As a member, I get unfettered access to the advice of other industry professionals. It’s a collaborative learning environment that gives me the opportunity to share my experience and gain insights from others that I can pass on to my show managers.

Memberlink features a directory of other members, including show managers, contractors and CVB’s. This variety of expertise is exactly what I’m looking for when I need advice that is pertinent to a specific situation. And since it connects me to other industry professionals, it is also a great tool for networking and for finding new partners to work within a cross location.

Words of Wisdom

Knowledge doesn’t happen by accident but it does often come in the form of experience.   As the late German philosopher, Immanuel Kant wrote, “That all our knowledge begins with experience there can be no doubt.” Even if our experiences are limited that doesn’t mean we can’t still grow in our knowledge of something. We don’t need to be trapped by a lack of experience, rather we can share in the wisdom of others to our benefit.

To give you a better idea of what kind of knowledge you can receive by using Memberlink, I’ll provide you with some examples of questions I’ve asked in the past…

  1. Event facility construction, how has that affected your event?
  2. In what ways did you implement an exhibitor recognition program?
  3. What trade show budgeting tools/documents have you found useful that are all-inclusive?

The feedback I received allowed me to have some in-depth conversations about other members experiences which enabled me to glean from their mistakes and successes. They also provided some really unique ideas that I was excited to pass on to my clients.

A New Perspective

In many cases asking a question isn’t because you lack experience, but because you value the opinions of others. There really is no limitation on what we can learn so long as we keep our minds open. As unique individuals, we all look at things from a different vantage point. And it’s in those varying angles that we can see things from a whole new perspective.

Posted by Shay Sibley

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