What Time Does The Show Start?

When does the show start

If a trade show opens at 10am on a Wednesday, you’d be forgiven for thinking that that is when the show starts, but you’d be wrong.

The truth is that, as soon as you set foot into the building, whether it’s on the first day of the show, or 2 days before as you’re building the stand in your jeans, THAT’S when the show starts. You, your company, your idea and your story are on show, right from the moment you set foot into the place and there is a possibility of a connection.

And from that point, the show never stops.

It doesn’t stop when you nip out for a coffee, get some lunch or sneak round the back for a cigarette. Someone, somewhere is still watching your show.

As a magician, I realised that there are two shows going on; the “show” and “pre-show” and that I have to be a magician in both of these shows. I can’t enter a client’s house in a non-magician like way; skulking off into a corner and being moody until it’s “show” time. I have to be everything they expect of a magician right from the off, right from the very first email. The “pre-show” lays the groundwork for the show. It sets the expectation, builds trust and creates the conditions for a great show.

Street performers know this. From the very moment they step onto the pitch, the show has begun. They talk to passers by, make jokes and crowd build at the same time as they’re dragging out their table and unloading their props. They’ve done nothing, but they’ve still hooked you in to watch and laugh, and you’re already sold on their act.

This isn’t dead time; it’s an opportunity for connection.

Anytime you have an opportunity for interaction, the show has started. You might be building your trade show stand, but it’s also an opportunity to chat to the fellow opposite who’s desperately looking to borrow a Phillips head screwdriver.

Any time you have the chance of making a connection, start the show.

As human beings, we may well spend time comparing figures and data, but we’ll always want to head in the direction of the people that make us feel good; those that put effort into their pre-show.

Don’t give people the excuse not to look for you.

Give yourself a head start and work on your pre-show.

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