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Do I Still Gotta Practice?

Joe Greeley here, with Nimlok Minnesota.

Here’s what’s on my mind – Do you practice?

Now, I’m the proud father of two teenage, twin boys.  Well, let me back up — proud father of two very, very active teenage twin boys. And that’s not a complaint; however, when they were in their younger years they were known as the ricochet brothers and, quite frankly, I have the paperwork to prove it.  I have letters from principals, teachers and school bus drivers. Not that I’m complaining, because they’re very, very healthy and very, very active. A typical day for my kid, even in the teenage years is pretty active, when you think about it.

What do you do – you wake up, you shower, you brush your teeth, right?  Eat breakfast, run out the door, run back in because you forgot 19 different things. You run back out and you go to school. You go to four classes. You learn, right?  But you practice, you practice.  And then what? You go to lunch.  And then you go to three or four more classes, right?  You learn, and you practice some more. Then what?

Well, then you have the after-school. Whether it’s band, or sports, what do you do?  You practice, and practice some more to get better at it. Whether it’s a competition or just for personal reasons, you get better. Then you get home – what do you do?  Homework (a very popular topic around our house). But what do you do – it’s more practice, isn’t it?  And if there’s any time left in the day, you probably go back out and get to enjoy something that you like to do, but it’s probably close to practice.

Here’s the thing. We spend the first twenty-one years of our lives practicing. But then when we get to be an adult, it seems like the practice goes out the door. After college what happens?  Well we gotta find a job. What happens when we find a job?  Well, we work some…then we work a little more…and a little more.  Ah! Then we get a promotion maybe! But then we get a new project and we work and work.

Now that’s not to say that some people don’t go back to school. They get to practice and hone something very specific – a very specific topic, skill, or career which is fantastic! And they get to practice it some more.  Some of us read books which is also fantastic, but do we really put it into practice?  Sometimes. It’s great to have the knowledge, but knowledge without action doesn’t do us much good, so we need to put that into practice, don’t we?

Now a lot of things we do in our lives we practice at, but a lot of times it’s our hobbies as an adult, right? We sew, we play golf, we play tennis, we play the guitar, we like to practice dancing – whatever it might be! But when it comes back to work, it comes to our actual career, where we spend the bulk of our time, we don’t do a lot of practice, do we?

When it comes to a trade show, and your actual trade show team, staff and exhibit, do you practice? I can only think of a couple of times in my twenty years of doing this where somebody said, we’d really like to do a dry run. Now every now and then, sure, they get together in the morning before the event and they have their “Hoorah!” going, and that’s great! And I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t do that before the show.

What I am suggesting is you should start thinking about doing more of a dry run within your exhibit. You spent a tremendous amount of time, money and effort getting there, and you’ve heard me say this a lot, let’s start practicing.  Start practicing the behaviors that you want.  Start practicing specifics. Start letting the senior people train and practice with the newbies. Take a survey of your people and figure out what’s the most important thing you should be practicing.

Now I know right now, you’re probably rolling your eyes, and trust me your staff is going to roll their eyes, and they’re going to have a whole list of excuses. “We don’t have time,” or “I’m too busy!”  And “Let’s be honest Joe, nobody wants to.”  Well sometimes you have to do some things you don’t want.  But what we’re trying to do, is we’re trying to boost the results of the trade show. And we can do that by practicing, just like anything else we’ve done in our life, right? Either that, or what do you say to your people? “Hey, have a good show!  Try to stay sober in Vegas – see you next week!” We don’t want to do that – we’ve spent too much on this and have too much effort involved.

I will leave you with this.  Brooks Robinson, the famous 3rd baseman from the Baltimore Orioles, won sixteen gold gloves.  He said, “If you’re not practicing, someone else is somewhere, and that someone is going to take your job.”

If you’re not practicing, and your company’s not practicing, and your people aren’t practicing, some other company is, somewhere, and are they going to take your clients? Something to think about.

That’s what was on my mind. Let us know how we can help.

Thanks!