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 I'm about to "sing-off " and fly out to Thailand for the Asian Dive Expo
(ADEx) - being held in Bangkok over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Tomorrow morning, Tricky and I will be meeting up with Bjorn and Soyong -
together with several hundred of our closest friends<g> - for a few days of
serious, heavy-duty, conferencing and to learn more about what's new and
exciting as regards the region's diving destinations.  (We may even manage
our time to fit in one or two social 'beer-a-thons!) :-)

For anyone who thinks that this sounds like fun, let me tell you that dive
shows are hard work! :-)

Which is why - some years ago - I put together a survival guide that's stood
me in good stead when attending Dive Conferences and Shows!  :-)

All of you take care.

Strike

How To Survive A Dive Show

Surviving the annual crop of Dive Shows and attendant Conferences demands
stamina:  Keeping your workload to the minimum while managing to enhance
your professional reputation requires finesse!

Regular appearances at the international round of diving industry events
have, for many people, become an increasingly important part of the job
brief.  They represent an opportunity to establish important business
relationships and provide valuable links in expanding their network of
contacts.  A task made significantly more difficult for those delegates who
believe that the business of diving is best conducted in the stuffy confines
of a conference room rather than in the air-conditioned comfort of a hotel
bar or coffee shop

Here, for the benefit of the uninitiated, are a few pointers to cutting-edge
networking.  Careful adherence to these principles will make it possible to
attend - and benefit from - as many Dive Shows and conferences as the boss
throws your way.

1.  Carry with you, at all times, a large sheaf of documents.  This will
indicate to other delegates that you are:
 a.  Literate.  (An important attribute in the diving industry!)
 b. That you are either coming from a meeting/seminar session.  Or:
 c. Going to a meeting/seminar session.

2.  Make a point of attending the following sessions:-
 a. The Opening Session.  Use this session to categorise delegates into two
broad areas:  Competitors and Customers.  Ignore the customers and
concentrate on identifying the competition.  These people are your enemies!

Impress upon them the need to 'hard sell' prospective customers during the
interval breaks and the importance of attending every session except:-

 b. The 'Boring' Session.  Carefully select the speaker you feel is least
likely to attract a large audience.  Ingratiate yourself with the Organisers
by sitting in a prominent position and feigning interest in the topic.

 c. The Closing Session.  Concentrate on the customers.  At this stage in
the conference they will be shell-shocked by the attentions of your
competitors.  Let yours be the last and most persuasive voice that they
hear.

3.  Unless you are actually out diving - or otherwise enjoying yourself! -
ensure that you are always visible during the coffee/tea breaks, and:
 a. Never talk meaningfully, or for lengthy periods, to any delegate whom
you suspect of having an understanding of the session topic.

 b. Should such conversations prove unavoidable, pretend to search through
your documents for a relevant paper and 'accidentally' spill coffee on their
shoes.  (Note: This ploy only works effectively once per conference.)

4.   Carefully rehearse at least three differing opinions on the Conference
topic.  Use them sparingly and only as a last resort when in the company of
a large group of delegates.  If invited to elaborate on your views, take a
large bite of the peanut butter covered canapé that you have previously
secreted about your person.

5.  Make a point of being seen at least once a day in the lobbies of the
major, 5-star, delegate hotels.  Raise your profile by periodically
arranging to have yourself paged.  (This is best accomplished by telephoning
which ever hotel you happen to be in from one of their public 'phones.
Explain to the operator that you understand (insert own name), is with a
group of people in the bar/restaurant/coffee lounge and that it is
imperative that you call head office immediately for an up-dated schedule of
your Ministerial appointments.)

6.  When taking refreshments ensure that you sit in a well-lighted spot in
full view of passing delegates.  Maintain a concerned expression and
constantly check your watch.  This will indicate that the person(s) with
whom you had obviously arranged a meeting is/are running late and may cause
you to miss the next session.

7.  Retain every piece of literature relating to the conference.  Hopefully
this will be sufficient to fill your suitcase, leaving little room for
presents.  (The buying of gifts while attending a diving event is
discouraged.  To do so indicates that you had some leisure time and said
gift may be interpreted as a salve to your conscience for some minor
indiscretion!)

8.  Inevitably you will meet delegates who are "tired and emotional",
usually in the cocktail bar of hotels in the late evening.  Seek out those
delegates whom you deem to be the most "emotional" and remind them of their
offer to buy you dinner.  On your return the company accountant will commend
you for your thrift, thus paving the way for your attendance at the next
conference.

9.  In the event that your spouse/co-habitant insists on accompanying you:
 a. Downgrade your hotel reservation.  Take all meals in your hotel room.
 b. Attend every session and refuse to acknowledge any member of the
opposite sex who may greet you.
 c. Spend each evening reviewing the speaker notes and insist that the
mini-bar be removed from your room as not being conducive or relevant to a
diving related event.

10.  On your return write a tediously lengthy report emphasising the 'Boring
' session, (see 2. b above) and, when asked to comment on the Dive Show,
plant your tongue firmly in your cheek and tell the truth!  "It was hard
work!"

---ENDS---