Re: Trade Shows and Tech Writers

Subject: Re: Trade Shows and Tech Writers
From: Nancy McGuire <Nkmcguire -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 8 Jul 1996 18:44:56 -0400

Thomas Johnson (The Lone Writer in northern Michigan) writes:
>>Has anyone out there gleaned a tremendous amount of >>information about
technical communication at a trade show?

First of all, greetings from Bay City.
Secondly, I have several observations about the usefulness of attending trade
shows/conventions. These apply whether you are a research scientist,
engineer, job-seeker, or tech writer.

a. My most productive trips have been to shows that addressed some specific
issues or developments directly related to a project with which I am
involved. Since I can't go to more than one or two shows per year, I scan
the advance postings very carefully to see if the show is "on target".

b. In addition, I attend meetings for the purpose of making or maintaining
contact with colleagues and prospective clients. Rather than rely on chance
meetings, I scan the list of presenters and exhibitors beforehand. I give my
must-see people a phone call a week or so in advance and arrange to meet them
at the trade show/convention. I also come up with a list of specific
information to exchange with these people so that we don't wind up spending
an hour talking about the weather. If the information I need is detailed or
complicated, I ask my contact person in advance of the meeting so that he or
she will have a chance to think things over in advance.

c. You get more individualized attention from exhibitors if you go by their
booths during "off" times, for example, when everyone else is sitting in
symposia. If you can schedule lunch or dinner with an exhibitor, so much the

d. The American Chemical Society has a Chemical Information Special Interest
Group that includes writers, librarians, database searchers, etc. This SIG
has mixers, information tables, and other functions at every ACS meeting.
It's a great way to meet your counterparts from other organizations. I'm
sure other professional groups have similar sub-groups.

To summarize, the best way I have found to get my money's worth from trade
shows and conventions is to have a purpose and a plan worked out in advance.

Hope this helps.
Nancy McGuire
nkmcguire -at- aol -dot- com

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