SEMA Member News - November/December 2010

Survival of the Smartest

Tips and Tricks for the 2010 SEMA Show

By Camee Edelbrock


SEMA Member News-SBN
To take advantage of the unbelievable business opportunities that abound at the SEMA Show, you need to be prepared—mentally and physically—for four days of non-stop talking, standing, walking and smiling. Follow the 16 fatigue-fighting tips detailed here to make the most of your energy.  

Every year, the SEMA trade show convenes at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the first week of November with thousands of booths and project vehicles as well as hundreds of industry notables to meet and greet. To take advantage of this unbelievable business opportunity, you need to be prepared—mentally and physically—for four days of non-stop talking, standing, walking and smiling. Here are some stats to put it into perspective:

  • At the end of June, there were 1,541 companies signed up for nearly 800,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, up more than 100,000 sq. ft. from the same time last year—and more on the way.
  • There were 267 companies exhibiting for the first time and 142 returning companies who did not in attend in 2009.
  • The Las Vegas Convention Center covers 1 million sq. ft.
  • For most attendees, activities begin at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast and end around 10:00 p.m. after dinner with business associates or an industry awards banquet.

Now that we have your attention, here are a few tips and tricks from veteran attendees who know that the only way to survive the SEMA Show is to be prepared.

  1. Wear Comfortable Shoes: A high-quality athletic shoe with arch supports is best, but if your dress code doesn’t allow it, make sure to wear a soft, supportive shoe that has been broken in before the Show. Cushioning shoe inserts also help.
  2. Pack a “Trade Show Floor Kit” and Keep It With You: Your kit should include lip balm, eye drops, hand sanitizer, lotion, a comb, tissues, snacks, water, pain reliever, bandages and breath mints/gum. The pain reliever should be
    an anti-inflammatory, such as Advil, Aleve or aspirin. If you require antacid or allergy meds, include those as well.Pack all of these items together in a zip-type plastic bag before you arrive, and keep it with you at all times.  
  3. Pack Your Power Moisturizer: This tip is not just for the ladies! Pack your hydrating moisturizer for your face and body so that you don’t wake up every morning looking like the Crypt Keeper.
  4. Drink Water: Keep a bottle of water with you, sip on it constantly throughout the day and refill it as necessary. Las Vegas has a very dry desert climate, so even if you are not accustomed to drinking water, this is very important.
  5. Humidify Your Hotel Room: To moisturize the air in your hotel room while you sleep, simply fill your tub with steaming hot water before you go to bed and leave the bathroom door open to allow the moisture to penetrate the room. This will help protect your skin, throat and nasal passages while you sleep.
  6. Eat a Healthy Breakfast: During SEMA Show week, breakfast is a must. Many people find that they do not have time to eat lunch, so a good breakfast can give you the energy to fuel your day and carry you through ’til dinner. It’s hard to eat healthful meals when you travel, but do your best; it really helps with the symptoms of jet lag as well as fatigue.
  7. Consider a Rolling Backpack: If you’ll be collecting materials at the Show, don’t try to carry them all day in an over-the-shoulder bag or briefcase. Use a rolling backpack to carry your items; you’ll be glad you did!
  8. Sleep: The days—and sometimes the nights—can be extremely demanding during the SEMA Show. Try to get at least six hours of sleep per night. If you don’t, try to get a power nap the following day. When you return to your room after the Show, lie down, elevate your legs and rest or sleep for about 30 minutes before you get ready for your dinner meeting. Then you’ll can hit the shower and get ready for the next round of activity.
  9. Refresh Your Feet and Legs With These Tested Methods: At the end of the day or between the Show and that dinner meeting, lay on the floor of your hotel room with your back flat, your arms relaxed at your sides and your legs elevated on the edge of the bed. Breathe deeply for 10–15 minutes. This will increase circulation, oxygenate the blood and relieve a good deal of pressure and swelling in the lower legs and feet. If your feet are very sore, follow this by soaking them in ice-cold water—as cold as you can stand it—for 5–10 minutes.
  10. Travel Smart With Shuttles and the Monorail: Shuttles run to and from the Convention Center and many local hotels. Check the list of hotels, and get a schedule when you arrive. The Las Vegas Monorail is the preferred method of travel to get around town. Monorail trains arrive at the station about every 10 minutes, traveling in each direction. They are fast, easy and inexpensive. To get tickets for the Monorail in advance, visit here.
  11. Help the Back: Before getting out of bed and hitting the Show floor, lay flat on your bed and hang your feet off the side to do 10–20 leg lifts. This helps ease back pain and prevents more from occurring.
  12. Business Cards: There is nothing worse than running out of business cards at the SEMA Show, but even veteran attendees have made this mistake! To avoid this devastating condition, bring more business cards than you think you will need—especially when attending the SEMA Speed Networking Breakfast—Powered by SBN. You won’t believe how many cards you will go through.
  13. Mints: With all the talking you will be doing, pop a mint every now and then. You’ll be able to keep your voice all week long.
  14. Alcohol: It’s easy to get carried away in Las Vegas. It’s been a while since you’ve seen some of your friends, and you want to throw back a few. Remember, you are in a different atmosphere, and it does affect your body. To avoid a hangover, have one glass of water every two to three drinks.
  15. Eat: Everyone is working hard, and it’s late afternoon before you know it. Always eat breakfast, and take some snack bars with you at minimum. Las Vegas isn’t made up of booze and gambling only. It has grocery stores. Stop by one, and pick up some finger items you can eat while on the run—but not the sugar items. Beef jerky is a wonderful source of protein to help keep your energy up throughout the day.
  16. Plan Ahead: This basic tip is even more important at the SEMA Show. With only four days to take in a huge venue, the best way to ensure that you cover your territory is to have a good plan of attack. Use the SEMA Show Planner  to set up a schedule of events and meetings. Plan everything from visiting booths to eating lunch to walking the Show floor, and consider the layout of the Show to reduce unnecessary trips back and forth. You’ll do enough walking without making extra trips!