Motivation Show 2009.

It was actually my second trade show but I felt like I was starting over on the learning process. Earlier in August, I went out to Long Beach, California for a SAAC Show representing Helping Hand Rewards (my company Hinda's socially responsible outlet) in a 10x20 booth...flying solo.

A month and a half later I'm at McCormick place playing double duty for both Hinda and Helping Hand Rewards...except this time Helping Hand Rewards had a 60x10 booth and representatives from all nine of our partner social enterprise groups. With the Motivation Show being a bigger show and both the Hinda and HHR booths being larger and more elaborate than almost anything I encountered at the show in Long Beach, it was a huge learning experience.

The set up of the Hinda booth was much more extensive than what I'd seen. It actually required more than just nicely decorating a fold out table. There was actually construction involved, none of which we participated in. We had to watch as a trained crew put it up (which was fine with me, it would've taken me forever). Helping Hand Rewards had more of a fold-out table style of booth, however there were nine tables so a little more extensive than what I had seen at my last show. Luckily, with representatives coming in for all the other companies, we only had to set up a few tables.

The week was more than just standing for eight hours at a booth talking to people about socially responsible business (via Helping Hand Rewards) and gaining potential leads. There were also meetings, dinners and other functions throughout the week.

Free dinners? It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

Also, through my work at Hinda the past few months, I have established a social media marketing presence for the company. Mainly utilizing Twitter, I had been able to connect with several other key people in the incentive industry. Since most of these guys were at the Motivation Show, I was able to meet people I had talked to through Twitter in person. I also got the opportunity to meet our company sales reps and VARs that I had only talked to through email. It was nice to be able to spend a week putting faces to email addresses and Twitter usernames.

Overall the Motivation Show was a great week for me to learn more about the ins and outs of our business. I've still got a lot to learn but it was great to see all the stuff I hear over the phone, read on emails and hear about in meetings actually put into play.