For exhibit and event professionals  

How do I cut out that racket?

June 9, 2014 By Editor

noisy-neighbor-dreamstime_xs_38520450Last month, Beverly, a trade show coordinator, wrote:

“The last show we were at the booth next door had these clicker giveaways that made a really irritating racket. They used them all the time to promote their booth. It was a constant distraction. We didn't say anything because we didn't want to make a scene. But what should we have done?”

This dilemma turned into an “Ask the Expert” as we opened it up to MC2 managers who have dealt with the noisy neighbor syndrome for clients in every industry. Here's what they recommended.

Get Show Management Involved

I think it’s best to bring in show management as an arbitrator in situations like this as you never know if that noisy neighbor my end up being a customer or potential partner for your business one day. Show management should be eager and willing to get involved to ease the tension and stop the clicking.

Cliff Hutson
Senior Account Executive, MC-2

This one seems pretty cut and dry. If she was not comfortable to approach the noisy exhibitor directly I would speak to show management to review the regulations to see if they were in violation of the good neighbor policy and ask them to make a decision. If the clickers were that irritating, I expect it bothered other neighbors as well.

Mark Flinn, CTSM
Account Executive, MC2 Southwest

Whether it's clicker giveaways or a rock band in the booth next to you, if they're within show noise guidelines, best to try turning your irritation into positive energy to capitalize on their momentum, energy and especially their traffic. If they have to resort to gimmicks, make sure your content and customer experiences draw guests into your booth space and keep them there. The more customers you engage and influence, hopefully the less you'll notice your irritating neighbors … and outsell them because of the quality of your experience!

Wendy Wilkerson
Sr. Account Executive, MC2

Make It Polite

Beverly, there are two suggestions that I would make. The first would be the direct approach. Introduce yourself to this neighboring exhibitor and explain the situation. If your neighbor is a professional, they will understand and make an adjustment. The second would be to approach Show Management. In the rules and regulations governing the show, there are always rules referencing the use of “gimmicky noises, lights, etc.” Show management wants to hear from exhibitors, like you, referencing these types of situations. By your addressing the circumstance through show management, it allows them to administer the rules and correct the situation – because they want you, Beverly, and your company, back exhibiting at their show in the future. Shows do not want you and your company to have a bad experience.

Tom Byrne
Director of Sales, MC2

1. Politely address the issue with neighbor. Be sure you are speaking with booth manager not a staffer. Wait a short while*.

2. While waiting mention to other neighbors that you have done so. This prepares for a consolidated front. It also validates that you are not ALONE and unreasonable in your concerns.

3. NO LUCK? Address with manager a second time. Mention you have also confirmed that other neighbors agree with you. (Without their support you will likely run out of steam.) Wait a short while.

4. Inform neighbor you are going to show management. (This may break their will.)

a. If the show management card gives them pause, wait to see if they change their tune. If not proceed to Show Management. Take a neighbor, strength in numbers.

b. If they say, who cares, proceed to Show Management. Take a neighbor, there's strength in numbers.

(*Wait a short while equals 30/60 minutes minimum. For every lost hour, you lose sales at a trade show.)

Alan Cordial
Sr. VP Account Development, MC2


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