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Managing Emails While At A Trade Show

Managing emails at a tradeshowEarlier, I wrote a post on how to better manage your emails, but I’ve realized that for many trade show managers, trade show booth staffers or marketing people that are involved in the exhibiting world, we are often on the road and rarely just sitting at our desk.  I thought I’d take a look at how to best manage the emails you get when on the road, at a trade show or just traveling, period.

I have found that the same principles will apply to managing emails on the road as they do on a normal basis but you will most likely have less time and options to access emails or communicate in general.  Here is what I have found works quite well traveling:

On your ‘Out of Office Reply’ tell mailers that you will be checking emails only at certain times of the day.

Here is an example:

“I will be out of the office with limited access to phone and emails from Tuesday the 4th returning Monday the 10th.  I will be dedicating my full attention to “Show ABC” and will be only be able to check emails at 8:00-8:30am CST and 4:00-4:30pm CST during the weekday.  For any emergencies please contact me on my cell phone at 555-555-5555, if I don’t answer please leave a voicemail and I will return your call as soon as possible.”

This allows you to not have to constantly be checking your phone or trying to find a wifi signal to check your email.  It allows you to focus on the show or clients and lets people know how and when you can be contacted.  Once people know that, they WILL find another solution, wait for your reply or they will call.  As for those “emergencies” you would be surprised how they seem to resolve themselves if someone has to pick up the phone and call you, and if they do it’s usually something that can be resolved after a five-minute conversation.

This also means that you have to turn OFF the email alert feature on our phone and computer.  Remember, the idea is to allow you to focus on your clients and the show.  I suggest turning your email to sync only when you manually log into it on your phone; otherwise you just have a pocket sized distraction device.  Plus, if your phone is buzzing because you have a new email, it is very rude to check it when you are having a conversation with a client.  If the phone rings, generally, people will understand that you will have to at least check who is calling.

You may be wondering “How am I supposed to check and respond to all of my 30, 40, 50 or more emails I get a day in just 1-2 hours a day?”  To master this it will take time.  I now check my email roughly five times a day; I would only do it three times a day but with a lot of international clients I want to make sure I’m accommodating them as well.  I went from getting about 40-60 emails a day to roughly 25 a day.  I didn’t even tell people about this, I just started doing it.  Now, people seem to only email me when it is important and really concerns me.  My email is not a distraction, it is not a “To Do List” and I stopped getting all of those irrelevant emails.

Is your email account running your life?

Evolving Role of Exhibit Marketers: free white paperNo doubt email is just one of the many things a trade show marketer must juggle this day in age.  To find out how your peers manage their countless responsibilities, read  The Evolving Role of Exhibit Marketers white paper.  To receive your free copy of this 36-page guide, click here.

About the Author

Jordan Hanlon was a New Business Development Analyst at Skyline Exhibits, located in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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