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Trade Show Text

After spending 20 years deeply involved in the trade show world, Michael Hough has done the ultimate brain download. He's deposited his knowledge in a how-to manual published early this year called The Profitable Tradeshow. For this 159-page (plus appendices) text, Hough has drawn from his posts as co-founder of the A/E/C Systems Show and recently as senior managing director with Penton Media Inc. He's also a founding member of the Society of Independent Show Organizers.

The book's 12 chapters are ordered logically, beginning with strategic planning, financial management, and organizing the sales process, then tracing the trade show experience through on-site operations. There's also a chapter on special circumstances such as co-located shows.

Hough's an old-timer, but he's up to date. He's done his homework for the chapter on using the Internet, outlining Web-related sales and marketing issues, virtual trade shows, internal and external communications, and other challenges that are front and center for 2001.

Hough's effort to be comprehensive shows itself best in his 32 pages of appendices. Besides a glossary of terms, which you might expect, he includes a sample chart of accounts, notes on creating a floor plan, a sales timeline, a promotion mailing timeline, and a list of sponsorship and promotional opportunities, as well as a list of 68 steps to producing a show. The last is useful because it suggests when the step needs to be accomplished and gives the reader a page number to turn to for more information. Example: Step 7. Prepare Draft Budget … 16 months from show … page 34.

The $124.50 price tag is hefty, but a money-back guarantee helps to ease buyers' nerves. You can read excerpts or order the book, published by Hough's company, MRH Associates Inc., Wethersfield, Conn., at