Over the last two days I've gone to some local business events, and decided I wanted to write about them a little bit.

It started yesterday morning with a seminar being put on by the Syracuse chapter of the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), of which I'm a local member. The topic was Crucial Conversationsicon, which is actually a book that, as it turns out, I was the only one in the room who'd read it. The presenter was Elizabeth Fredericks of VitalWorks, based in the Rochester area, and she did a great job of presenting the material, though she made one of those procedural mistakes that I learned a long time ago not to do when I have a lot of material to present. That mistake is telling people to break in whenever they have a question because you love a lot of interaction. Though the conversations that took place were great, she found herself using up over an hour to get through her first 10 slides, and left herself only 15 minutes to try to get through the rest of her presentation. Still, she did a great job, and one thing she did, which I'd have picked up on if I'd known she was the presenter, was go around and meet every single person beforehand, so she could reference all of us throughout the event; that's something I need to learn how to do.

The second event that took place yesterday was the Syracuse Small Office/Home Office Show, which, for the 10th year in a row, was held at the Syracuse Oncenter. For at least the third year in a row, this event was underwhelming, and I have to say that I wish I was in charge of this event. The biggest problem this year is the same as last year; no parking. Both the garage and the parking lot were full, and, as always, there wasn't even a place to park on the streets. I won't say where I parked, but I will say that I had a very long walk, which doesn't make one happy to begin with in cold, rainy weather. Then, once inside, it seems there are more vendors than visitors, which doesn't do any good and makes one believe that the vendors had taken all the parking spots, which, though they do pay to put their displays and such up for the event, reduces the number of people who attend, because I almost turned around and went back home. So, because there aren't all that many visitors, the room felt as though it had no energy, which is a shame. The same thing befell the Syracuse Chamber Business Show earlier this year, because instead of holding it out at the Fairgrounds, where they held it the previous couple of years, which has unlimited parking and a shuttle bus for those who may end up parking somewhat far, many people decided against even trying to get inside, as it was another relatively bad weather day. If I were running this event I'd move it from the Oncenter to the Fairgrounds, mainly for the parking, and I'd set up different events throughout the day, outside of the few educational sessions that rarely get enough numbers to even put them on, reduce the price of the food and drinks (who wants to pay $4 for a small hotdog, or $3 for a small cup of soda?), and have a secondary drawing to highlight a particular vendor each hour, maybe with a blue light (ala K-mart from years ago) to keep the energy going. It also wasn't advertised all that well this year, as many people were surprised at the earlier morning meeting because they hadn't realized the business show was on Thursday. If I hadn't run into a couple of people I knew so I had someone to talk to it would have been a complete waste of my time, which, overall, it still probably was.

Today, though, for a meeting with the Professional Consultant's Association of Central New York, our presenter was Bob Steinkamp of Finger Lakes Media Strategies spoke on effective press relations. He did a pretty good job, saying he was surprised to be nervous because of all the radio and television work he's done. But he gave us some pretty good tips on how to submit press releases to the media.

And there you go. Two very busy days, some good and bad things, but all in all, what business is all about.

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