Communication Secrets of Great Leaders

Originally published 18 August 2017 by Lindsey Pollak

Have you ever worked for someone with exceptional communication skills? Whether they have a knack for simplifying a complex topic or inspiring a team with just the right message, gifted communicators are able to instantly win over their audience in any setting — from a large conference audience to a one-on-one meeting.

The good news is that I genuinely believe great communicators are made, not born. Here are a few articles offering insight into how you can boost your career by improving your communication skills.

Stay Focused To Convey Authority

“When writing or giving a message, you need to be decisive and focused, which means avoiding rambling, or working through a problem out loud. Speak only when you have something meaningful to say, and make sure your point is clear to whomever you’re speaking with. You can use a service like Evernote to better organize your thoughts, tasks and goals, and work on defining your thoughts in firmer frameworks this way.” — Read more at Entrepreneur.

Use Bold Words That Inspire Confidence

“Choose words and phrases that are powerful and eliminate those that sound tentative. …  Limiting words, such as ‘possibly,’ ‘probably’ or ‘likely,’ also convey uncertainty. This kind of approach does not translate to contexts where you want to come across as clear, assertive and confident. When your goal is to inform and lead, employing a more directive approach with fewer words is more effective.” — Read more at

Face-to-Face Communication Makes a Big Difference

“If your office runs on email and text-based communication, it’s worth considering whether you could be a more effective communicator by having conversations in person. It is often more convenient and comfortable to use text-based communication than to approach someone in-person, but if you overestimate the effectiveness of such media, you may regularly—and unknowingly—choose inferior means of influence.” — Read more at Harvard Business Review.

Give Your Complete Attention

“Doing something else while you are talking, such as texting or writing an email, sends the message that you don’t value what the other person has to say. So eliminate distractions! If you find it hard to concentrate because of your surroundings, move to another area or ask to talk another time. What you don’t want is for this habit to continue because it may be a stumbling block in how others will respond to you later.” — Read more at

Remember That Listening Well is a Key Component of Excellent Communication

“While electronic communications make long-distance interaction easier than ever before, it has unfortunately hindered our ability to really listen during an information-rich conversation. This is unfortunate, because skillful listening enables you to catch details that others miss. Many epiphanies and business solutions have been reached thanks to a good listener’s ability to pick up on a hidden gem. One excellent way to immediately improve your listening ability is to practice empathetic listening. Try to feel excited when the person you’re listening to is excited, or concern when the other person is concerned. Reflect the other person’s emotions not only verbally, but also with your facial expressions.” — Read more at

What’s a communication skill you’ve seen in a leader that has inspired you? I’d love to hear from you on Twitter or in the comments below.

Lindsey Pollak is the leading expert on millennials and the multigenerational workplace, trusted by global companies, universities and the world’s top media outlets. A New York Times bestselling author and keynote speaker, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her presentations have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.



Events are a Means to an End


by David Nour

I spend a lot of time at industry events. In addition to speaking over fifty times a year, I often attend events to spend time with my clients or to recharge my batteries and seek out new ideas. But here’s one thing that sets me apart from many others: I always have a specific set of objectives for each event.

Surprisingly, many organizers, producers, and suppliers to the events industry lose sight of the reasons that attendees, exhibitors or sponsors participate. By this I mean that many events do not work hard enough to help their stakeholders fulfill their desired strategic business goals.

Here are the three dominant reasons I perceive that organizations participate. As you consider this list, ask yourself what more you could do to facilitate the fulfilment of these objectives:

Create new relationships within a specific category: Too often, employees come back from an…

View original post 370 more words

The Power of Advocacy and Why You Need to Get Involved

Originally published by Trade Show Executive September 2017 Edition

In July, I wrote about our advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill during the fourth annual Exhibitions Day. Let me start by emphasizing once again how important advocacy is and why you should get involved. The exhibitions and events industry contributed more than $80 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2016. There are exhibitions in all 50 states and the industry sees more than 33 million attendees at business-to-business shows with 1.35 million exhibiting companies. The exhibitions industry is a force to be reckoned with and through advocacy, we continually beat the drum that exhibitions mean business. Out of the success of Exhibitions Day, Global Exhibitions Day was born and now takes place with more than 75 countries participating in activities to promote the exhibitions industry.

During the 2017 Exhibitions Day on June 6-7 in Washington, D.C., attendees met with U.S. representatives to emphasize the importance of fair and free trade, raise awareness for the economic power of trade shows and discuss specific issues that are directly impacting the industry’s ability to conduct business. These issues included Protecting Brand USA; Rebuilding America’s Airport Infrastructure Act – H.R. 1265; Exhibitions and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative (EMSSI); and Stop Online Booking Scams Act – H.R. 2495 and S. 1164.

On July 18, the House Appropriations Committee passed the FY18 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill, which noted the redirection of Brand USA would not be supported. The bill is currently on the House floor.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a funding boost for the Department of Transportation (DOT) in July, which includes raising the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) from $4.50 to $8.50. The bill will move to the full U.S. House.

The Exhibitions and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative (EMSSI) is in its final iteration with a targeted completion date of early October. Once completed, hundreds of convention centers will be requesting certification from the DHS SAFETY Act Office – a significant undertaking that would require immense time and resources.

Since Exhibitions Day, 20 additional Members of Congress have agreed to co-sponsor H.R. 2495 and S. 1164.

It is important to also note that 2017 attendees told me and staff that these representatives and their office staff remembered our group. This is key because as you know, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Stay tuned this fall for additional efforts by the Exhibitions Mean Business campaign including a post-Exhibitions Day advocacy strategy that includes ways to contact Members of Congress regarding the issues we addressed this past June. Also mark your calendars for the 2018 Exhibitions Day taking place on June 6.

Equally important is the work we do on the state level. In August, the Exhibitions Mean Business campaign exhibited at the National Conference of State Legislatures which saw more than 1,000 staffers from all 50 states. The campaign is heavily involved with destination management organizations (DMOs) when the issue of discriminatory legislation is put forth during state sessions, most recently in Texas.

I will leave you with this final thought. We all have a responsibility to promote the value of face-to-face events. Whether you join me on Capitol Hill each June, have an event focused outside the US for Global Exhibitions Day, or simply post information on social media about exhibitions, it is vital to keep the positive message going that Exhibitions Mean Business! Visit for blogs, advocacy toolkits and quarterly campaign reports.

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





Make Marketing Magic with These 4 Fundamentals

Originally published by 4imprint 31 July 2017

How to best market your organization may seem like a mystery. Maybe you’re in charge of a large marketing team. Or maybe you’re the wizard behind the curtain doing it all: making trash disappear, conjuring leads, and casting spells on customers (tasks we non-wizards like to call marketing). Let’s face it, the Wizard of Oz® was just a normal, enterprising guy with access to cool technology. But he knew how to market himself, and knowing those skills is how you make magic.

If the marketing magic depends on you, it’s time to study the book of tricks. In this day and age, not marketing is simply not an option. Without a rabbit or two to pull out of your hat, your organization is likely to vanish into the thin air.

Starting your marketing journey

If you’re thinking, “Advertising, social media and personalized promotional products, oh my!” it’s time to find the wizard within. Put on your ruby slippers, Dorothy, this is your chance to feel at home with marketing. In this Blue Paper, we offer four fundamental ideas—and some promotional products—that will help you unlock your marketing potential.

So, let’s start at the beginning! No, not in Kansas. Let’s start wherever your business is right now. We promise, this Blue Paper will have you easing on down the road to marketing success.

Pinpoint your brand

Remind customers you’re different from the competition. Imprint what sets you apart on the Soft Touch Pique Sport Shirt and gift to your best customers.

Tip 1: ‘Witch’-ever way you go, find your true identity

All marketing wizards in training must first understand the importance of branding. You want your organization to stand out in the crowd and be immediately identifiable. Think of the Wizard of Oz witches. One glance at the green face, black outfit and gravely, nasal voice told you a lot about the character. The same goes for the sparkly, elegant Glinda. The point is, you don’t have to peek behind the curtain to understand them. Their names, actions and color palettes give you a good feel for who they are and what they stand for.

Know what sets your organization apart

Mike McCracken, President of Hawkeye Aircraft Acquisitions, LLC, is like many entrepreneurs: he says he is President, CTO and COO of his aircraft acquisition company and his wife is CFO and janitor. With all the hats he’s wearing, he is also managing the company’s marketing, and he’s doing it well.

“We are a small shop, and we’re competing with people who have been in the business for lots of years and have lots of fancy offices and fancy advertising,” McCracken said. “But there’s something to be said for being small and boutique. You hire me and I’m like an employee on your staff. You’re a customer in one way, but basically we’re partners.”

By celebrating what differentiates their business model from the competition, McCracken has defined his company brand, and leveraged that to attract customers. Their tagline: “See The Difference.”

Like Hawkeye Aircraft, your organization already has a heart. Your company brand is essentially the heart of who you are as an organization. Most importantly, it’s how you want your customers, clients and key stakeholders to perceive you. Many companies rely on experts to help cultivate their brand. But if you are on a limited budget and need to do it in-house, don’t worry: you’ve had the power all along! Head to the brainstorming table and bring along your employees. No one knows your company better than the people who work there!

Reinforce your brand

Define Your Company Brand—Your brand is the essence of who you are.

Define your brand by looking at its very essence and then determining how that should look and feel to your target demographics. Once you’ve pinpointed what’s at your heart, build your brand through consistent use of your organization’s identity, including:

  • your company name
  • your logo, tagline and colors
  • style guidelines
  • your mission, vision and values

Your brand should be reflected in everything you do, including when you shop for custom giveaways for companies. (Examples to come, we promise!)

Tip 2: From munchkins to millionaires: Define your target market.

Define your target market—Determine what they love and need, and give it to them.

Defining your target market goes hand-in-hand with building your brand identity, because you want to make sure the brand speaks to your target market.

To define your market, first think about your product or service, and ask yourself:

  • Who are my current customers?
  • Who do I want my future clients to be?

Then, really drill down to get a clear picture of whom you are trying to reach with your company’s offerings.

Define your target customer

Some companies will develop a fictional persona that exemplifies their target customer. They’ll even name that persona and define the following:

  • Are they male or female?
  • What age group are they in?
  • What is their income level?
  • Where and how do they prefer to receive communications?
  • Where do they spend their time?
  • What motivates them?
  • What are their problems and how can our company address those?

Companies will use this information when it comes times to make decisions. They’ll frame pertinent questions through the filter of their target audience personas, and ask, “What would Patty want?” or “What would John think?”

Think like your target customer

McCracken knows his target market well. They’re high-income business leaders, often company CEOs, who are interested in buying a jet. They are the kind of people who are tough to shop for, because they seem to have everything. That poses a challenge when you want to buy meaningful, useful personalized promotional items for giveaways, but McCracken had an idea. He searched for giveaways that reflect his brand and tagline.

“Everything we’re doing is trying to focus on how we are doing things differently. We view the world differently,” he says.

To help his customers and leads “See The Difference,” he gives them cleaning cloths that can be used on eyeglasses. The Full Color Cleaning Cloth – 5” x 5” hit the right note. McCracken says he was at an event recently where a business associate pulled out the custom cloth and confessed she carries it everywhere.

Choosing the right giveaways is important. To get there, you need to know your audience.

Tip 3: Take it from the wizard: Create a marketing strategy.

Create a Marketing Strategy—Be a marketing wizard.

You know your target audience, and you have an understanding of what your business is at heart. Now it’s time to plan how you will reach your key stakeholders with your message. Obviously, you can’t do it all, so choose carefully based on where your audiences are and how they like to get their news and information.

You may want to develop a marketing strategy for the full calendar year or the fiscal year. Either way, revisit it at least quarterly, to make sure you’re on track and your organization’s goals have not changed. Remember marketing is an investment. You’ll want to determine how you will measure success with each strategy to get a clear picture of your ROI.

Decide how to best reach your target audiences.

For Mike Nitroy, assistant manager of the Millersville University store, the decision was obvious. College students always have their phones with them. So, he did some research and found an app that could be used to launch promotions, answer questions, reward customers and engage students online. “It gets people thinking about shopping here and gets them in here,” he said.

To launch the app and quickly gain attention, the store offered free sunglasses for those who downloaded it. The app allows students to share photos of themselves in-app and on social media. “When people saw the quality and look of the sunglasses, they were quick to jump on and download it.”

The app also allows the store to offer incentives to repeat customers. Every time someone with the app shops at the store, they get a virtual punch. Those with 10 punches get a free prize during finals week, or they get to choose a grab bag. In the wake of their marketing success, Nitroy offers this advice for those looking to up their marketing game.

“Find a way to get your message through to your audience,” he says. “This was a good way for us to do it. It’s really cool because I have a master app where I can go and see analytics.”

In the industry, we call that wizardry ROI.

Listen to your customers and prospects.

Join the online conversation. Social media is where it’s at, and most audiences want to connect with you online. Do some research on which social networks your target audiences tend to use, and then stake your claim. But remember, social media isn’t a one-time project; it’s an ongoing conversation. Be responsive and helpful, engaging and, when appropriate, fun! Just make sure to stay true to your brand. Crossing over into non-brand related topics could alienate the audience you’re hoping to reach.

Say something new and share it widely.

Make wow-worthy content. If you’re in the industry, you’ve no doubt heard the marketing adage, “Content is king.” But if you’re new to marketing, the concept might be a bit of a mystery. Content marketing using blogs, e-newsletters and web articles is a powerful way to leverage SEO purposes or to improve online engagement. Keep your target market personas in mind as you develop content and give them stuff they crave. That’s a winning strategy.

Plan your public relations.

Will you host events? Attend trade shows? Have a booth at the local festival? Speak to local groups? Figure out where your target market will be throughout the year and where the best places will be for you to set up shop. Then determine what marketing materials you will need at those events. Give your brand a professional look with imprinted event banners, tablecloths and embroidered polo shirts for your staff.

Make yourself memorable.

Remember to order creative marketing promotional items and custom giveaways. Giveaways for companies are appreciated and sought after at any event or meeting. Creative and engaging promotional products keep your customers thinking about you long after the event ends.

Tip 4: Release the flying monkeys! Leverage guerilla marketing

Leverage Guerilla Marketing—Flying monkeys optional.

Guerilla marketing could be your ticket to marketing wizardry, particularly if you’re on a tight budget and are open to being creative. What’s guerilla marketing? Simply put, it’s a marketing strategy using unconventional, memorable and low-cost tactics. Creativity can help you rise above your competitors because it makes you memorable. Think about it. Most people vividly recall the movie scene with the flying monkeys because it was so unique and well-presented. Brands can do the same thing, no monkeys required.

Chelsea Baratto, founder, writer, and self-proclaimed “one woman show” for 700smiles, launched a hashtag promotion recently in tandem with her blog, which takes an unflinching look at motherhood. After struggling with infertility, getting pregnant, learning her baby had a cleft lip, and overcoming all of the hurdles of being a new mom, she realized how much moms could use some encouragement.

“No matter which way you get pregnant and go through labor, it’s just really hard. And being a mom in general is really hard,” Baratto says. “And in this age of social media, everyone is just showing their best face and looking like they have everything together. I just feel like we’re kind of in a lose-lose right now because of all the pressure we put on ourselves and society puts on us.”

Inspired by the movie Bad Moms, she decided to start a #goodmom movement. She sought out an affordable way to pay it forward. Her guerilla marketing tactic was born.

“I was just brainstorming how we could set this in motion. And obviously social media is really powerful, but I wanted to think of something more personal. So the best thing that my mom brain could come up with was Post-it® Notes,” Baratto says. The idea was simple: Enlist the public to stick mom-positive messages on cars, in bathrooms, anywhere moms who could use a lift might be. The message: “Hey momma, you’re doing a great job.”

Let customer momentum carry you

The idea quickly became popular and Baratto got the chance to see its impact first-hand with the help of two personalized promotional items. She brought custom Post-it Notes – 3″ x 4″ and logo’d Massager Pens to a recent new mom expo. Mothers clamored for the 500 massage pens, which were gone within the first hour. But the Post-it Notes gave Baratto the chance to talk about the #goodmom movement.

“I explained the Post-it Notes, and people started crying. It was emotional: I was crying, and they were crying. These were strangers that it really struck a chord with.” Baratto said, “I guess I feel like I’m really on to something here.”

Bottom line: Deploy your target audiences to join you in your guerilla marketing efforts.

You’re off to BE the (marketing) wizard with a plan in hand

Being tasked with managing the marketing for an organization is no small endeavor. It’s like magic: Those who do it well make it look so easy. But for those who struggle, it can seem like a trick gone wrong. With the right tools in your marketing toolbox, and the helpful tips in this Blue Paper, you can be a wizard in your own right. With the power of personalized promotional items, you can make them feel right at home with your brand. And there’s no place like home.

SOURCE: Make marketing magic with these 4 fundamentals

Events: We Love You. You’re Perfect. Now Change!


by Carl Landau

Post-event, if you did your job, everyone is high on love: Loved the program! The speakers rocked! You did great!

It’s a Kudos Fest.

But, let’s admit, it, not every single attendee is always completely happy. Sure, you strive for that, but it’s realistic to assume you will not please every single person every time.

So you read the evals (most are favorable) and file them.

Then, typically, you dust off those evals again when you are beginning to create new programming (about eight months out for an annual event), looking at what you did last year. You’ll look at the evals and your team’s notes, and start filling in the educational slots and networking opportunities.

But suddenly you notice something. When you looked at the evaluations the first time, most were positive. Sure, there were a few nay-sayers and a suggestion or two, but in general attendees seem to have really liked you and your event.

But did they really?

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CEM Faculty Spotlight on KV Nagendra Prasad, CEM

KV Nagendra Prasad, CEM, has 20 years of professional experience in sales, marketing, business development and commercial operations in telecom, real-estate and trade fairs/exhibitions industries in India. He has been associated with the exhibition industry since 2002 and has been involved in hosting and organizing trade fairs and exhibitions on various subjects, working actively with various national and international associations and trade bodies.

KV actively works for the development of the exhibitions industry in India. He was unanimously elected as President of Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA) (2015-17 term), the apex body of the exhibition industry in India with leading global firms in the field as its members. He served as IEIA’s Vice President from year 2013-15. KV is credited for enabling the reciprocity arrangements with global associations and enabling the internationally recognized “Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) program” of IAEE in India. He speaks at various MICE forums advocating the significance of exhibitions to the industry, economy and society.

Earning his CEM designation in 2016, IAEE spoke with KV to discuss his new role as CEM Faculty and what he has learned so far. KV is the Chair of the IAEE India Chapter.

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been in the exhibition industry for 15 years.

I started my career in the real estate unit of India’s largest engineering and construction company – Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T). In 2002, L&T was selected by State Government (then Andhra Pradesh State) to build HITEX Exhibition Centre. I was inadvertently posted on to this project. From then on, my association with the exhibition industry began and today it means everything to me.

What are your responsibilities in your current role?

I run the HITEX Exhibition Centre, a modern MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition) venue located in Hyderabad, India. The HITEX Exhibition Centre was established by the State Government under public-private partnership mode. I am responsible for business development and sustenance, venue operations, show management and infrastructure development.

I also play an active role in the Indian Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA). I am the elected President of the association for the current term.

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

In my experience, I find IAEE to be a very active association. There are immense opportunities for learning, collaboration and resources. The CEM program particularly is a very well laid out program covering all aspects of exhibition management. I was involved in leading the efforts to create the India Chapter of IAEE and in rolling out the CEM program in India. I received my CEM certification at Expo! Expo! in 2016.

When did you become a member of the CEM faculty?

I became a faculty member in December 2016. So far, I have taught Floor Plan Development, Exhibition and Event Sales and Event Marketing in India. As part of CEM faculty training, I had the opportunity and honor to intern under Mr. Randy Bauler, CEM, who coached me on many aspects of teaching CEM courses and I thank him for all the support. I also received great advice and tips from Mr. Al Lomas, CMP, CMM, CFE, CEM who has been my guru and is now a good friend.

What was your most memorable experience from teaching?

The first time I was teaching, I made a promise to myself that I would ensure that students in the class should feel happy to have enrolled in the CEM program. I prepared really hard for the class, made notes and listed examples, etc. I had to face a set of people, most of whom knew me from the industry and even a couple of them were my office colleagues. I was very happy with the way the sessions progressed. It was interactive and I provided examples that the class was able to relate to throughout the session. I received very positive feedback from the participants.

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

1) One should be thorough with the subject(s) he/she is teaching.

2) They should plan and time the session well, prepare a set of examples/exercises/case studies relevant to the participants’ country/region/markets.

3) One should try and make their class interactive and engaging.

What are a few of the benefits of teaching CEM?

There are quite a few benefits of teaching CEM courses. You get an opportunity to become thorough in the subject that you are teaching. You are recognized as a thought leader in the industry and you have the opportunity to connect with participants from different regions/markets/functions. Also, you get to travel and see new places.

How has the CEM designation helped you in your career?

I am more organized now and plan my days better. There is recognition of being a trained and certified professional. I am able to do my job with more conviction.


The Importance of a Personal Touch


by Jessica Finnerty

In this day and age, most everything in our lives is “experience driven.” We live in a world where everything is tailored and personalized to appeal to our specific interests. This is especially true in the trade show universe.

With technology providing more and more options that negate the necessity for face-to-face interaction, the best way to keep your show relevant is to connect with your attendees and make it feel personal. Give them an experience that is more than just the show–something that resonates on a deeper level.

My show is in the automotive sector, specializing in products and services for your car after it has left the dealer lot. And while I love my show dearly, I will be the first to admit that it can be a bit dry. So a few years ago, when we first started trying to brainstorm ways to make our…

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6 Tips for a Newcomer at EXPO! EXPO!

By: Maxx Lebiecki, Account Executive, Association of Equipment Manufacturers

We’ve all been there before – a friend or coworker invites us somewhere on short notice.  Although not really interested, we decide to tag along to be nice, but wind up having a wonderful time. Or the flip side – we choose to miss out on an event that turns out to be the talk of the town.

The situation reminds me of hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzke’s insightful statement, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

Technically speaking, it is impossible to miss a shot you don’t take. That being said, your “shot,” translated to networking and meeting people, could mean the difference between an open or closed door in the future.

One thing that I left Expo! Expo! 2016 in Anaheim excited about was the opportunity for more involvement. I made a conscious decision to put myself out there, meet new people and connect/network constantly. Those decisions led to opportunities beyond what I could have imagined. In just a few short months, I found myself joining committees, gaining a YP Spotlight feature, being interviewed by Exhibitions Mean Business on where I see our industry headed and most recently being recognized as an industry trendsetter.

In 2016, I was proud to be recognized at Expo! Expo! as one of the top 20 under 30 in the industry. Anaheim was my first Expo! Expo!, and I look forward to attending many more to come. I would like to share 6 key takeaways that enriched my experience in hopes that they will be useful for you as well:

1. Go to Everything (Practice your ‘FOMO’)

While it is impossible to be in two places at once, look at scheduled events beforehand and really scope out what you think will benefit you most. Connect with others pre-show and onsite, listen and look for after hour events, meet and mingle with every person you can and do a solid vetting of what education classes will benefit you as an individual. Trust me when I say that the hardest part will be showing up. After that, it’s all easy-going…not to mention the food is usually delicious.

2. Try to get involved

Make note of those you connect with while at events or education sessions. Are they in a leadership position? Are they well connected? Be sure to take notice of these things. Let other professionals know that you are interested in becoming involved. Everyone is looking for help in one way or another. A connection today could lead to an opportunity months, or even years down the road.

3. Connect with Everyone

This should go without saying, but bring a stack of business cards with you. Bring them to your classes, bring them on the show floor and most importantly bring them to all networking events. Add your connections on LinkedIn after, and add a message that will make people remember you. It could be as simple as “It was great meeting you at Wednesday’s IAEE networking event.” After all, that’s what these events are for!

4. Be Nice to Everyone – Attitude is Everything

Sounds simple, right? It can be more difficult than you think. Sometimes after long workdays, travelling and missing our loved ones, we can become distracted and appear to be standoff-ish.  “Dressing the part” and the way you carry yourself can (in some cases, not all) be just as important as how well you may know the industry, or how much you feel like you can offer. Dress for the job you want. Even if you don’t feel like it, think of every experience as though this is the greatest thing you have ever attended. Your body language will follow. No one wants to work with someone who is difficult to talk to or won’t give him or her the time of day.

5. Ask for help/intros

As a sales person, I would compare this to cold calling vs. word of mouth. In my experience, people are more inclined to trust you and get to know you when someone else that they know (and trust) introduces you. In addition, it can help with any awkwardness that you may encounter when meeting someone new. There can be a fine line to the etiquette of asking, but don’t be afraid to politely ask someone to make an introduction for you. The worst that can happen is that they say no.

6. Create Your Path

Last, but certainly not least, be sure to create your own path. Your path, or end goal is something that should be in the back of your mind throughout your stay. Think beforehand what you want to accomplish. Write it down. Remember it. Whether your end goal is to join a committee, meet 15 new people or make a sale – in the end YOU are in charge of your own path to success.

Networking is not always easy, but taking these things into account at events, such as Expo! Expo! can really help you take a step in the right direction. I look forward to meeting you in San Antonio!

Need a start with a connection? Add me on LinkedIn:




Helicopter Parents in the Workplace: It Happens and It Needs to Stop

Originally published July 26, 2017 By Lindsey Pollak

The concept of helicopter parents buzzing around the workplace, just like they hovered and swooped on the elementary school soccer field, sounds like a joke.

No doubt you’ve heard of this phenomenon — parents sitting in on interviews or calling to re-negotiate a child’s compensation package. NBA recruit Lonzo Ball has recently received a ton of attention for his dad’s, um, involvement, in the draft process. Some of the stories are so egregious that you may wonder if these incidents are bizarre outliers, blown out of proportion by the media.

Let me assure you: They are not.

My clients tell me that parents calling to discuss their child’s needs, performance or compensation has become a common occurrence in HR departments. Let’s take a look at why it is happening, and more importantly, what we should do about it.

The Roots Of Helicopter Parents

First, I want to emphasize that helicopter parenting is usually (but not always) a middle class/upper-middle class phenomenon, and by no means applies to every member of the millennial generation. However, due to several different reasons, parenting norms in the 1980s and 1990s, when millennials were growing up, leaned toward closer involvement with one’s children. Parents became more involved with virtually every aspect of their children’s lives, from education to friendships to extracurriculars and more. More than half of millennials consider a parent to be their best friend.

As these parents’ kids grew, it’s easy to see how their parenting progressed from calling the kindergarten teacher or soccer coach, to emailing the high school teacher, and then contacting the college admissions office, and now corresponding with recruiters and employers.

When Is Parental Involvement Okay?

Some companies view parental interest as a boon and welcome employees’ parents as their “secret weapon,” inviting them to employee orientations or encouraging them to sign up for the company newsletter. Every November, LinkedIn hosts a “Bring In Your Parents Day,” a concept embraced by many other companies with younger workforces.

The reason organizations are catering to parents is to build loyalty from their youngest employees: Millennials and their parents are still tightly connected, and a parent’s opinion of an employer could sway a young employee to stay with that organization. Recent studies show that 1/3 of millennials still live with their parents, the top living arrangement among this age group. A parent who likes an employer can help a child retain a positive perspective through the daily ups and downs of work.

Land the Helicopter

Of course, behind-the-scenes support and attending social events is one thing; active outreach is another. Parents should not directly contact a child’s employer. It is uncomfortable for the employer and often works against the employee rather than helping him or her. Here’s what to do if this situation does, however, occur…

If you’re a manager

The good news is that most parent calls will likely go directly to HR — the equivalent of a parent calling the principal rather than a teacher.

But there will occasionally be times a parent will reach out. And while a mom or dad’s call might annoy you, don’t automatically let it diminish your respect for an employee. In fact, don’t always assume the son or daughter knows. It’s quite possible they would be horrified to find out. Instead, politely but firmly inform the parent that you’re not at liberty to discuss your employee’s salary, review, etc.

It might even help keep you out of hot water, says Jaime Klein, founder and president of Inspire Human Resources. While sharing with a parent is not in violation of a specific law, it is unprofessional and definitely goes against an employee’s expectation of privacy, she says.

“What the parent is contacting the employer about — whether it’s benefits, performance or salary — is likely confidential, and without knowing if the employee has authorized the call or the sharing of information, it’s in the best interest of employers to say nothing,” she says.

On the other hand, it’s perfectly fine to let parents know that you’re interested in them as part of your employee’s “work/life integration.” So perhaps create a FAQ that describes your company or department or invite them to a company picnic. As discussed above, recruiting them as allies can be a powerful asset to your retention efforts.

If you’re a millennial

Even if your parents used to intercede with a teacher when you got a poor grade or argued with a coach for more playing time, having them try to finesse a less-than-stellar performance review will backfire on you and make you appear immature.

In my book Getting from College to Career, I mentioned that while it’s fantastic to have your parents as career advocates, it’s critical that they be in the background rather than interfacing with your clients, boss or HR. If you want advice from your mom on how to handle a client visit, definitely call her and role play some Q&A, but don’t do it on speakerphone during a ride-along with your boss, as one manager told me a millennial employee recently did.

If you’re a parent

Just. Don’t. Call. Cheer all you want, but please, stay on the sidelines rather than running onto the field. A call to an employer will likely do more harm than good. It’s time to land the helicopter.


Chapter Leaders Council Spotlight… An Interview with Dan Darby, CEM, VP, Group Show Director, Antique, Jewelry and Watch Shows, Emerald Expositions

Dan Darby, CEM is VP, Group Show Director, Antique, Jewelry and Watch Shows for Emerald Expositions and a member of IAEE’s Chapter Leaders Council. Dan has been an IAEE member for 16 years. He recently shared with IAEE how serving in a leadership role within his chapter has expanded his understanding and involvement not only in the industry, but his community as well.

How did you get involved in leadership within your chapter?

I was recruited to become involved by Daniel McKinnon, a former co-worker, after attending the 2011 Southeast Chapter’s Summer Classic in Orlando.

What chapter committees do you serve on currently and/or have served on in the past?

I am the current SE Chapter Board Chairperson and previously served on the Membership Committee.

What have you gotten out of volunteering for your chapter?

Participation has been very rewarding. Certainly the connections and face-to-face interaction are beneficial – those are the backbones of our industry – but the opportunity to work with a wider variety of venues, companies and charitable organizations around metro-Atlanta has been personally rewarding. Although I have lived outside Atlanta my entire life, these are opportunities I doubt I would have taken advantage of without IAEE.

How are you fostering future volunteer leaders?

The Southeast Chapter has embraced IAEE’s commitment to helping mentor our YPs and, as one of our group’s MPs (Mature Professionals), I am working directly with the 15 active YPs from my company to be more involved with the association.

What do you find most satisfying about having stepped into a leadership role within your chapter?

I think each chairperson finds a particular area where they feel they can affect growth – maybe it’s education or membership or sponsorships. As a former marketing director, I am most excited to work with our committees to develop new programs to promote the association, chapter participation and our full slate of meetings and events (and without breaking the budget as marketers are reputed to do!).

What is your favorite chapter activity?

The Southeast Summer Classic! Two and a half days of education, networking and socializing with industry members at a great Southeast location. Keep your calendar open for 2018’s Southeast Summer Classic! All IAEE members are invited to attend!

List all IAEE Councils, Committees and task forces you are currently involved in aside from your chapter activities.

CEM Learning Program Faculty, an incredible opportunity to meet members on a national and international level and to engage in some very thought-provoking discussions about our industry and its best practices.