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Train the Trainer

AuthorIn 2014 we started tracking various data points in a different fashion.  I admit I am not a detailed numbers guy and my Excel / Access skills are marginal, so I am thankful I work with some really smart people.  An observation that we made was that a major driver in show floor phone calls regarding “issues” was installation of SEG graphics.  As we became more aware that Installation or improper installation of SEG was a greater problem than ever understood, we started handling those calls differently and with some guidance and direction, we found that “refitting” or reinstalling the graphic using the corner – corner – middle – middle method routinely cured the situation.  Fast forward to early 2015 and during a conversation with a few customers and Jim Wurm from E2MA, we created the idea to teach a class with Training Staff from the Carpenters Union and Decorators Union.

The idea was simple, we are teaching our customers, as well as different I&D companies, but a huge hole was left and that was the union members who are tasked with the actual installation at Tradeshows.  Through Jim’s connection, we held the first class in February in Anaheim with the I&D Trainers of Local 831.  I was tasked with 4, 6, or 8 hours of training to certify them on proper installation techniques for SEG graphics.  I wasn’t sure how to make it last an hour let alone 8, but we met and worked for 7 total hours.  The group was absolutely thirsty for information, asked me some incredibly insightful questions, and some detailed questions I was not expecting.  At one point, I stopped and shared that the discussion was far more interactive and engaging than I expected and I was met with the response, “Well you have to understand, our job is work with members and teach them the intricate details and prepare the future of I&D”.  I might have paraphrased that, but the point was, they took their jobs seriously, and clearly shared with me that they wanted to make sure members knew what they were doing and help train the team the right way. Author

So we are scheduling the next Decorator training and have training with the Carpenters scheduled in the near future.  This is a pay it forward idea – help the union I&D members / help the I&D companies / help the Exhibit Houses / help the end clients have a good show!  Stuff always happens on the show floor, but if we can have a positive impact to reduce some show floor anxiety – we all win!
Happy selling, everyone.

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About the Author

Dave Brown is the Vice President of Sales at Optima™.
He has been in the Trade Show industry since the early 90s.

  1. Steve Moskal
    June 5, 2015 at 10:50 am

    We were supervising a set up in New Orleans a few months back and our labor partner’s crew down there was way ahead of the game when it came to handling SEG. They jumped right in with the correct installation method. It seems that their city managers have done a good job making sure local crews know where to start with all of this. Thanks to Optima for making the effort. Overall, there seems to be a lot more of a “collaborative” attitude with labor these past few years. Changing of the guard?

  2. melmwhite
    June 5, 2015 at 10:54 am

    If your dad (or mom) ever taught you how to change a tire, you know how to install a Silicone Edge Graphic (SEG). It’s all about even, symmetrical tension on the frame. Just like tightening the lug nuts on a tire.

  3. June 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you Dave. New product training is a challenge. You have to see the product that you are so familiar with through a new set of eyes.
    Recognition of the desire and need for knowledge of the I&D teams and EAC’s and unions who save our bacon parts on a daily basis is always good to read.
    Stephen Pyle

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