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The 4 Quadrant Trade Show Planning System

When you are planning, executing or following up for a trade show there is never a shortage of things to do.  We often have a long list of tasks with numerous looming deadlines throughout the whole trade show process.  How can we help tackle all of these items?  The most efficient way to get through a task is to delete it. That’s right, just delete it off of the face of the earth!

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  “Wait! I can’t just delete things off of my To Do List!”  It is a difficult concept to accept, and it took me at least a year before I dared delete a task off of the sacred “To Do List” without have actually done it.  Trust me though, this applies to a lot more tasks than you think.  There is a lot of busy work with your trade show exhibit that can simply be deleted from your list.  Just take a minute to let some of this digest.  Ok, now that you’ve calmed down and the idea of just deleting something has crept into your mind you might be wondering, “How do I know what I can delete or not?”  The best way that I’ve found to determine if you can delete something is by using Randy Pausch’s Four Quadrant To Do List.

He breaks out his tasks into four quadrants.

1. Important and Due Soon

2. Important and Not Due Soon

3. Not Important and Due Soon

4. Not Important and Not Due Soon

As you can see, this is a quick and clear cut way to define the tasks that you need to get done and when.  You will be amazed at how many of these tasks will fall into the third and forth quadrants, which more often than not can and should be deleted.  Check out Randy’s Quadrant and try it out.  Then, if you are feeling bold, go ahead and cross off one of those tasks that are in the 3rd or 4th quadrant and see what happens.

We are trying to focus our efforts on to what is important and urgent.  Too often we fill our days with busy work that is really not productive, but it makes of feel like we are getting things done.  This system refocuses us to direct our efforts to what is important.  When you apply this to what needs to be done with your trade show display or exhibiting plan, you might be surprised at how quickly you meet your goals.

And yes, there is an App for that, but you can also use a pen and paper.

What's Working In ExhibitingFor more ways to be your best exhibitor, read the What’s Working in Exhibiting white paper.  This 32 page guide gives you almost 100 tips about most effective strategies and tactics exhibitors are using today to boost their results and stretch their budgets.  Click here to request your free copy.

About the Author

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

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