com•mu•ni•ca•tion [kuh-myoo-ni-key-shuhn]
noun
  1. the act or process of communicating; fact of being communicated.
  2. the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.
  3. something imparted, interchanged, or transmitted.
  4. a document or message imparting news, views, information, etc.
  5. passage, or an opportunity or means of passage, between places. (1)
In every day we are bombarded with facts, numbers, ideas, social issues and so much more! We hear it from our families, the TV, our co-workers and especially online. With all the knowledge available at our fingertips, I wonder if we are really communicating. Although one-sided communication can be very useful, the most effective communication involves interchange, feedback; both sides giving and taking.
“Effective communication occurs only if the receiver understands the exact information or idea that the sender intended to transmit.” (2)
How do I really know you understood me if you don’t respond? I don’t.
A few weeks ago I put a message out there, asking what people wanted in Downtown Longview, WA. I got a little feedback, but not a lot; some of the feedback I did get was a surprise. Did it change how I interacted with people? YES!
“No one would talk much in society if they knew how often they misunderstood others.” Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe (3)
This week we have a wonderful opportunity to communicate. The Kelso-Longview Chamber, and a few dynamic individuals have been planning the 2nd Cowlitz County Regional Business Expo all year and on Thursday May 17, 2012 from 10 am to 4 pm you have the perfect opportunity to network – which is like communicating on steroids!
The Cowlitz County Regional Business Expo is the place to put your best food forward. If you are an exhibitor, I know you have spent a lot of time and money to be here so make sure your booth is interesting. We suggest you run down to your favorite office supply store and pick up a few holders for your business cards and brochures so they are easier to see, and grab! Also our eyes like to look at things on a number of levels. Take the time to grab a few risers (shoe boxes work well) so that your marketing is at different levels. If you have some lighting ideas, ponder that for a few minutes and then make it happen.
Have signs? Bring them. We are very happy with the banners, signs & name tags that we ordered through Prographyx. We designed our own, but if that is not your thing, Cal, Tim and Virgil are there to help you with all your logo needs (Unless you’d like to talk with us about that). Need some flyers printed asap? Tom at Reprographics was fast and did aa EXCLAIMATIOUS  job on our brochures and Pat and Bethanie at Copies Today Speedy Litho have done beautiful work for Living Ministries.
The booth is not the only important thing…You are the first thing people see when they come to your table. Hopefully you didn’t come alone, and you and your partner, can take turns manning the booth and meeting the people. Keep your pockets stocked with business cards, a smile on your face and when your feet start to hurt, imagine your happy place long enough to keep your spirits up!
Pay attention to what you are wearing. Visual people will already think about this, but for the logical ones out there, attempt to match either the color or style of your logo and marketing materials. The theme of this event is a tropical one, so if you can’t match your business you can at least wear something fun; this might be a great conversation starter….and there will come a time that you start to get tired. It is ok to sit a bit, but when someone comes up to your booth, try to stand and meet them. This one little action may make sure you stand out among the rest.
When you are out there meeting people and shaking hands make sure to make eye contact and be interested in the person you are talking to. Even if they are not ever going to hire you, they may refer someone else to you, and I have to say…I don’t just by my cat food from The Pet Works. Xavier’s food is purchased from Eric and Rebecca Smith and their fantastic team; sometimes I don’t even have to get it off the shelf, because their knowledgeable staff pays attention to what I purchase.
There will be Seminars all day long at the Expo ($10 each or $20 for all)
  • Small Business Start Up & Development
  • Planning for Aging Parents
  • Investing in Real Estate
  • Best Hiring Practices
  • Small Business Exit Strategies
  • Small Business Marketing & Social Media
  • Search Engine Optimization for your Business
  • Making Your Money Work for You
Can’t get out of the office during the day? The hundreds of businesses that have set up exhibits at the Cowlitz County Regional Conference Center will still be there that evening from 5 pm to 8 pm. (Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Call the Chamber at (360) 423-8400 for more information.) At the afterhours we will have the opportunity to enjoy:
  • Hawaiian Dancers
  • Professional Firedancers
  • Hula Hoop Contest
  • Limbo, Door Prizes
  • Best Hawaiian Shirt Contest
  • Best Hawaiian Dress Contest
  • Did we mention food?
We are pretty excited to be one of the media sponsors…The winner of the media package will be getting a pretty sweet deal! There will also be a winner for a $2500 cruise…and Knotty Wares designed a custom bag for us that we will be raffling at our booth!
I hear you + I understand you + I trust you = I get it! (4)
Whether you are only going to read this because there is no way you can make the event or you have already seen the map for the event and you know your booth is right next to ours, we want some feedback…
Got any ideas? Any suggestions? Did you hate this article…start communicating now! We hope to see you as “we are about to set sail!”
P.S. The picture above was taken by Amanda Wilson Portraiture. She captured a great communication moment with Ray Bartley of Music Unlimited.

 

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