6 Reasons To Attend a Trade Show, Expo, or Convention

By: Kyra Inglis

CHATTANOOGA – (UTC/THELOOP) Many people do not realize how attending a convention, trade show, or exposition can be to their benefit. What they don’t know is about the wealth of information, not to mention freebies, that are made available .

There is also a chance to meet people who are either semi-famous or  knowledgeable in a particular area. Most events are held by theme, so there’s always something of interest for anyone.

Here are six reasons that you should attend one of these events in your area:

Free Stuff: The swag opportunities are incredible. I attended two trade shows in less than a week, and in that time, I racked up four tote bags, a water bottle, a t-shirt, a tire pressure gauge, coupons for products at a local grocer, sunflower seed packets and samples of three different ice creams.

According to Ardyce Mercier, Co-Founder of Cleaning Green, not only do they want your business, but they also want to show you how to clean green. “We come in and clean every surface of your house.” At the Cleaning Green booth, she gave out cleaning recipe cards that showed you how to clean your home in an eco-friendly way.

What is important to remember is that many businesses are going to be present at these events, and they have promotional materials so that you remember their name, and what service they offer. To them, business cards are not enough, and while you can lose or throw away a business card, a free tote bag is always going to be used. And that is free advertisement for them.

Give-Aways : There are countless give aways involved at these events. Each booth usually has an offer for you to sign up with. At the Eco Expo in Chattanooga on April 13th, the main give away was a scooter, that to register for, you had to take your program for the event and have each booth sign that you had visited that booth. Then when you were leaving, you took your program back to the entrance and entered yourself in the giveaway.

This was the prize available to all at the Chattanooga Eco Expo, Tuesday April 13.

This was the prize available to all at the Chattanooga Eco Expo, Tuesday April 13.

Most of these give-aways are not that complicated. Usually, it involves filling out a form with your contact information, your interests in that booth’s products.

Beware though, if it is not something you want to win, don’t enter. Those businesses use that information to do cold calls to sell you their product. They also use any e-mail information to send you information on upcoming product changes. So if you’re not interested in junk e-mail offers, don’t add your e-mail address.

Information: Depending on the theme of the event, there is a wealth of knowledge that is available to the attendants of these events.  At the Southern Women’s Expo in Nashville, travel deals and new cooking products were featured.  The Eco Expo in Chattanooga had eco-friendly products and services that are available in the Chattanooga area.

One of the most interesting exhibitors at the Eco Expo was EVS, or Engineered Verdant Solutions, that offered Green Roofs, Eco-Paving and LIving Wall Systems. The Living Wall System is something that Chad Norman of EVS, said that local restaurants are really getting into. “With a living wall, people are less likely to spray paint or put their cigarette out on your property.”

Knowing what kind of event you are going to, will give you a sense of what do look for and what kind of questions to ask. It will also give you a chance to find the best possible answer from someone who knows about what you are looking for and has probably worked in that field.

Opportunities: There are several types of opportunities available. The opportunity to support local businesses in your area is one.  The opportunity to what services are available to you through companies, such as Earth Fare. Earth Fare offers a pantry makeover program, where you can “trade in your conventional peanut butter, soda, cereal, salad dressing, or jelly and get a free Earth Fare Brand replacement.”

Meeting People: While you can meet people anywhere, it’s a little different at a trade show, expo, and very different at a convention. Depending on what the theme of the event is, there are usually guests that the event holder have arranged to bring in. At the Southern Women’s Expo in Nashville, one of the guests for the weekend was Johnathan Kayne aka Kayne from Project Runway Season Three.

 

People at the Southern Women's Expo in Nashville, on April 9th.

People at the Southern Women's Expo in Nashville, on April 9th.

At conventions meet and greets are extremely different. Attendants of Dragon Con in Atlanta and the most recent ConNooga can tell you, the emphasis is on Special Guests. It works a little different at these type of events, however. Generally, you have to pay for an autograph, or a photo opportunity. This can get pricey if there are several people you want to meet.

However, if your fandom has no boundaries, it’s a no brainer. According to Rachel Stewart, she met Terry Gilliam at the 2009 Dragon Con, and got to see a special screening of clips from “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.”

“It was really amazing,” said Stewart, “and because I am a Monty Python fan, I got Gilliam to sign some coconuts from ‘Spam-a-lot’ for me.”  Overall Stewart said it was a really great experience, adding that  “it was really epic, because he took five to ten minutes with each person.”

Fun! : So this is an obvious one, but it had to be said. The fun factor is the whole reason that you would go to events like these in the first place. Whether it’s the thrill of getting free stuff, actually winning one of those prizes, or just the road trip involved, for some, it’s a mini adventure. Make sure you do your research before you go, however. You don’t want to spend all your time filling out forms for giveaways, when there’s free ice cream to be had. Here are some tips to make your experiences the best :

Have labels printed out with your contact information. Stick them on the entry forms, for quicker results.

Hit the booths with the bags first. You will be handed a lot of samples and literature, so it’s best to have a bag to put it in.

Remember that if you don’t want your contact information used for junk mail, don’t enter the give-aways.

Do your research in advance. Find out if there is an admission fee at the door. Find out what kind of show it is.

Unsafe abortions kill 70,000 annually

NEW YORK (The Loop/AP) — Increased contraceptive use has led to fewer abortions worldwide, but deaths from unsafe abortion remain a severe problem, killing 70,000 women a year, a research institute reported Tuesday in a major global survey.

More than half the deaths, about 38,000, are in sub-Saharan Africa, which was singled out as the region with by far the lowest rates of contraceptive use and the highest rates of unintended pregnancies.

The report, three years in the making, was compiled by the New York-based Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights and is a leading source of data on abortion-related trends. Researchers examined data from individual countries and multinational organizations.

The institute’s president, Sharon Camp, said she was heartened by the overall trends since Guttmacher conducted a similar survey in 1999, yet expressed concern about the gap revealed in the new report.

“In almost all developed countries, abortion is safe and legal,” she said. “But in much of the developing world, abortion remains highly restricted, and unsafe abortion is common and continues to damage women’s health and threaten their survival.”

The report calls for further easing of developing nations’ abortion laws, a move criticized by Deirdre McQuade, a policy director with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.

“We need to be much more creative in assisting women with supportive services so they don’t need to resort to the unnatural act of abortion,” she said.

Guttmacher estimated previously that the number of abortions worldwide fell from 45.5 million in 1995 to 41.6 million in 2003 — the latest year for which global figures were available.

A key reason for that drop, the new report said, was that the portion of married women using contraception increased from 54 percent in 1990 to 63 percent in 2003 as availability increased and social mores changed. Guttmacher’s researchers said contraceptive use had increased in every major region, but still lagged badly in Africa — used by only 28 percent of married women there, compared with at least 68 percent in other major regions.

The report notes that abortions worldwide are declining even as more countries liberalize their abortion laws. Since 1997, it said, only three countries — Poland, Nicaragua and El Salvador — substantially increased restrictions on abortion, while laws were eased significantly in 19 countries and regions, including Cambodia, Nepal and Mexico City.

Despite this trend, the report said 40 percent of the world’s women live in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws, virtually all of them in the developing world. This category includes 92 percent of the women in Africa and 97 percent in Latin America, it said.

The survey concluded that abortion occurs at roughly equal rates in countries where it is legal and where it is highly restricted. The key difference, according to the report, is the high rate of deaths and medical complications from unsafe clandestine abortions in the restrictive countries.

“Legal restrictions do not stop abortion from happening. They just make the procedure dangerous,” Camp said. “Too many women are maimed or killed each year because they lack legal abortion access.”

In one example, the report told of a Nigerian woman named Victoria who first tried to induce an abortion by drinking an herbal concoction, then consulted a traditional healer who inserted leaves in her vagina that caused internal injuries.

The report estimated that 19.7 million of the 41.6 million abortions in 2003 were unsafe — either self-induced, performed by unskilled practitioners or carried out in unhygienic surroundings.

“Almost all of them occurred in less developed countries with restrictive abortion laws,” said the report, which estimated that — beyond the tens of thousands of women killed annually from unsafe abortions — another 8 million women suffer complications because of them.

The report makes three major recommendations:

  • Expand access to modern contraceptives and improve family planning services.
  • Expand access to legal abortion and ensure that safe, legal abortion services are available to women in need.
  • Improve the coverage and quality of post-abortion care, which would reduce maternal death and complications from unsafe abortion.

Camp, in an interview, said sub-Saharan Africa is the area of greatest concern to Guttmacher and like-minded groups. The status of women remains low in many of those countries, she said, while political and religious conservatives block efforts to liberalize abortion laws.

Although the Vatican remains officially opposed to use of contraceptives, Camp said her institute had detected a shift in approach.

“The Catholic Church has informally at least stopped fighting against contraception to the degree it once did and put more of its energies into fighting abortion,” she said. “On the ground there are priests and nuns who refer people to family planning services.”

McQuade, of the Catholic Bishops Conference, said any priest or nun making such referrals was veering from church policy. She contended that use of artificial contraception could increase a women’s health risks and said they would fare better using natural family planning methods approved by the church.

Overall, the report is “a good news/bad news story,” said Susan Cohen, the Guttmacher Institute’s director of government affairs, who hailed the decline in abortions and unintended pregnancies.

“The bad news is that where most of the poor women live, throughout the developing world, unsafe abortion remains high, and women are dying as a result of it,” she said. “It’s so preventable, and that’s the tragedy.”

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Men vs. Women Soccer Game Causes Uproar in Iran

By Alex Cooze

TEHRAN, Iran (UTC/AP)–Three officials were suspended and $5,000 in fines were handed out Monday at a mixed soccer game between men and women in Tehran. This is the first such game since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iran’s currently rules state that no physical contact may occur between men and women who are not related. Iranian women are also banned from attending any men soccer games. Only women may also attend games when women soccer players play. Occasionally, foreign women may attend men’s matches due to lack of knowledge of customs and language.

The game had been denied that it took place, but pictures and videos from cell phones have shown its existence.

The mixed game took place on Jan. 20th between Iran’s top soccer clubs. The female team played the youth male team which was the first time in 30 years that males and females have played soccer together.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has the final word on all Iranian matters and firmly believes that no women are allowed in the stands at soccer games, even in the segregated sections.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.