Dos and don'ts for TechEd

03 June 2008

The first session in our booth at TechEd has just finished, and we have time to grab a sandwich and relax a smidgeon before (cue impressive horror music - bam bam bammmm) the Partner Expo Reception. Grown men have been known to quail at this party, and that's just the attendees...

So in essence the session we just did was the one and only rehearsal we're going to get. And like every rehearsal, things go well and things go, er, not so well. It's almost as if, for every conference, we have to learn again how to present, how to chat with attendees, how not to promise the moon. Luckily, it's not so difficult to pick up the exhibitor habits again, so here's a bunch of notes.

  • Ensure that we have adequate supplies of both sizes of T-shirt out where we can get at them: at one point we only had Larges available.
  • Wrestle the mic away from Mark every now and then otherwise it's CodeRush demos all the time — it demos so well, though, but we do have some other brilliant new products and features to show off.
  • Talking of the new stuff, try and remember it all, and subtly bring it up in conversation: "What about them Giants, eh? Bet they don't have our DXGrid for WPF." Or, substituting as necessary, our new Code Central, XtraWizard, DXCharts for WPF, DXGrid for Silverlight, Code issue detection in CodeRush, XtraGauges, scheduler improvements, etc.
  • Get expert at hitting the right button on your cell phone to ignore the call as it vibrates in your pocket while you're talking to an attendee without looking as if you're enjoying the sensation.
  • Give away the T-shirts: "Large or extra-large?" There's no way we're shipping them back.
  • Try hard to give attendees who've never heard of you the 2-minute elevator pitch, gearing it towards what they might need our products for: "Developer Express? We make user interface controls and...", hoping for that serendipitous customer who happens to be passing to say that our ASPxGridView is the best thing since 8 bits first became a byte, so you can cut short the marketing spiel and get down to the nitty gritty of the problem the potential customer is trying to solve.
  • Endeavor not to misspeak and inadvertently let out firm release dates Smile
  • Send a prayer of thankfulness to whoever organized the double padding on the carpet in the booth: it's a lifesaver when you're standing for four hours straight. Hard floors and thin carpet must be brutal.
  • Remember not to have raw onion in your sandwich at lunchtime — the sandwich guy almost made mine with — the attendees you talk with later on will be thankful...

Anyway, that was the rehearsal, coming up is the real thing. I'll be back with another report later on.

(Report? Reminds me, must talk about the new stuff in XtraReports too...)

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