The legal nurse consultant who worked in my business at the time, Marianne (name changed) and I made plans to exhibit at an American Association for Justice annual meeting in San Diego. The trip did not start off well. I missed the exit to the airport and had to make a large circle to return back to the right spot. When we got to the long term parking lot, I found out Marianne had more luggage than she could possibly manage alone and had to leave some bags behind in my trunk. We made the plane with minutes to spare, and both exhaled with relief once we were seated on the plane.
When we got to the hotel and started unpacking, Marianne exclaimed in surprise and started laughing. She had shopped for a new pair of dress shoes the day before our flight. In her hands were two shoes – one a size 6 ½ and the other a size 8. She had size 8 feet. She could barely squeeze her foot into the size 6 ½. I suggested that she wear sneakers, her only other pair of shoes, the first day. At the first break, she could go to a nearby shopping center and get new shoes. “No, I could not wear sneakers – that would be unprofessional”, she said. “And I could not leave you alone while you are exhibiting.”
We walked across San Diego from the hotel to the convention center the next morning, and stood all day in the booth for the first of 3 ½ long days. Marianne stood in her size 6 ½ shoe and her size 8 shoe. At the end of the day, I again suggested she get new shoes. She again said she did not want to.
One of the exhibitors had long loaves of French bread that were left over at the end of the day. I’ve been trained as a child to not waste things, and offered to take the bread that he planned to throw out so we could give it away. Marianne and I walked around San Diego looking for homeless people until we gave away all of the bread. Then we walked to our hotel.
The next day we walked to the convention center, stood all day and then distributed bread. The third day we walked to the convention center, stood all day and then distributed bread. That night, Marianne removed her shoes and moaned. I saw blisters on her heels and realized she had been very uncomfortable all along, but had not complained. The next day I insisted we take a cab to the exhibit area, stood for 8 hours, packed up the booth and took a cab back to the hotel in preparation for our return flight the following day.
Lessons learned while exhibiting
1. Always check to make sure the same size shoes are in the box before you leave the store.
2. Don’t plan on breaking in new shoes when you are exhibiting
3. Bring 2 pairs of comfortable shoes when you plan to exhibit for several days and alternate the shoes each day.
4. Take advantage of an opportunity to avoid pain by accepting an offer to remove the source of pain. There is no point in being a martyr.
Patricia Iyer MSN RN LNCC learned lessons while exhibiting as president of Med League. She shares many more valuable tips about exhibiting in the replay of Time Tested Tips for Tradeshow Exhibiting, in which can teach you what she has learned from 18 years of exhibiting at attorney conferences. Order the replay, MP3 or transcript of this online training for legal nurse consultants.