Exhibition News June 2018 - Page 55

COLUMN: JULIAN AGOSTINI The devil you know The MD of Mash Media examines the common sayings that infl uence our lives, and wonders if it’s occasionally worth challenging them P laying devil’s advocate is an expression that has always troubled me, as it’s normally used by people about to tell you why you shouldn’t do something. It’s an FD’s favourite go-to line, after you give your best pitch about launching something exciting, your hear ‘just playing devil’s advocate’ and you know what comes next is a load of cold water. Now, perhaps surprisingly, I don’t know the devil personally…yet. But from what I’ve heard, he was more of a ‘yes man’, not in terms of agreeing, of course but more a yes to every suggestion. Surely he was the greatest risk-taker, hence another expression: a daredevil approach? The real devil’s advocate would be telling you to push boundaries, have a go, don’t worry about any consequences left in your wake...certainly they wouldn’t be trying to calm you down. OK, it’s only an expression, but we do live our lives by such adages, perhaps more than we might want to admit. Yet they can also be contradictory: many hands make light work but then apparently too many cooks spoil the broth! Nevertheless most of these phrases make a lot of sense, hence their continued, widespread use. In recent times we have adapted one or two. For example ‘too good to be true’ has now become ‘if something sounds too good to be true, it generally is’, and it’s here that I’d like to dwell a while. This is a very cynical view of the world and, while we shouldn’t believe everything we are told (or read!), is it healthy to have an outlook so cautious as to never grab anything that looks disproportionately good value for either money or time invested? Last month, we decided to nip away for a quick last minute break with the family and Liz (wife) found what looked to be an absurd deal online. For £300 per person, we could fl y to Turkey, be picked up, dropped at a fi ve-star hotel, and stay there on the ultra all-inclusive package for a week (so eat and drink what we like etc.) Now Turkey may be considered a minor “I would wager that people who go to events, trade shows etc. are not only happier but more successful” threat to tourists, but not really down in Bodrum, so this did look in the category of TGTBT. I can’t live here for £300 per week let alone fl y somewhere else and do it at fi ve-star...this could be horrendous. But we’re events people, what’s the worst that can happen? So we took it. What did happen next? Well...boring from the story’s point of view. It was phenomenal; literally could not have been better and we spent all week patting ourselves on the back and marvelling at how unbelievable it was. Several friends had winced at us going, family had said look elsewhere...strange isn’t it? Yet it throws up yet another comfortable saying: fortune favours the brave, and so it should. Events people are mainly brave, so we can testify that fortunes often shines on those that put themselves right out there. I don’t have research to back this up (yet) but I would wager that people who go to events, trade shows etc. are not only happier but more successful because they are brave in attitude. Let’s face it, when we are putting together our exhibitor and visitor promotion campaigns, who do we want reading them? Imagine any offi ce and you will have a collection of the same characters: You will have the doers who come into the group and say ‘we should be doing this event’ only to be countered by the wrongly named devil’s advocate who will be saying ‘what return can you guarantee?’ The answer is NOTHING...anyone who is judging exhibitions on sales should be placed at the bottom of the food chain; exhibitions just provide the opportunity... if sales were for sale, we’d all be buying in every direction; why wouldn’t we? It’s the same for visitors. We want the go-getters to come. If the event is on, they come because you never know. Those who think they will have a more productive day sitting on their fat arses behind a screen are kidding themselves. But worse, they are also kidding the company they work for. You will get more done going round an event than any day spent in the offi ce, where your mind will wander, personal life interrupts business etc., people will say that’s not them but it is... it’s everyone. Exhibitions are for the disruptors; those that keep looking forward, whether they’re an exhibitor or a visitor. Anyone who embraces their devil inside will be seen on the show fl oor. exhibitionnews.co.uk | June 2018 55