It is ASTA congress week again. This annual event is a bit like a
migration, by which I mean a mass movement of a single species from
one point to another, a movement that occurs with predictable
Such migrations have evolved as an important survival tactic;
indeed, gathering with one's ASTA peers every year fits that
So, what do you do as part of this annual ritual?
It goes without saying that you attend business sessions that
you deem important and you meet with colleagues from around the
world whom you need to see.
But there are other elements of the experience that warrant the
bent review that follows:If you want to get through doors, you have to wear a small
accessory that never matches your clothes -- the name badge.
You also may walk with a peculiar stance, head cocked, so you
can read badges. You may look at more badges than faces.
You can get a sore neck from this, but at least you won't be
embarrassed about forgetting the name of someone you have not seen
in a decade.All delegates are issued a second accessory that isn't a
designer piece either -- the delegate bag.
Yes, such bags are functional. I, too, have carried them at ASTA
and have even used one as a briefcase recently. (They can be
recycled, as well: Some years ago, a colleague spotted a homeless
person carrying one on the streets of New York!)As convention-goers, you are vulnerable to MEGO (my eyes glaze
over), the result of sitting in too many business sessions while
suffering from (a) lack of sleep, (b) too much food, (c) too little
food or (d) (you fill in this space).You spend hours walking up and down a barnlike room picking up
nearly useless giveaways plus every brochure that maybe, just
maybe, will be useful at the office.
You could go home with overweight luggage and very tired
feet.One last thing: We've all heard it, the jokes about agents and
shrimp. This is derisive chatter among the unthinking.
You have to eat, and often hosts expect you to do that while
standing. Shrimp is not messy, and Mother Nature made it with
natural handles so it is easy to pick up.
It is the perfect solution in a awkward situation -- if you
happen to like the stuff, that is.
My hope for you is that you leave Las Vegas with lots of new
ideas, that some of those brochures prove to be serious moneymakers
-- and that your feet, neck and any other aching body parts recover
You'll want to be in shape for the next migration.