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Posted by Julian Bray:
I’ve been coming to Posidonia since 1988. Much has changed about the event and shipping over the past 20 years, but some things have stayed pretty much the same, such as how to survive. So with the benefit of two decades experience, here’s my personal take on how to make it through the next week.
- Pace yourself. Posidonia’s more than a week, it’s a way of life and only the strong can survive. Don’t be one of the lightweights who gets overexcited on Monday night, wakes up hungover on a lounger in the grounds of the Astir Palace as the sun comes up the following day never to be seen again. It ain’t big and it ain’t clever.
- Don’t try to do it all. Have you heard of the keen young thing who on Monday planned to go to the Royal Bank of Scotland reception at the yacht club, followed by the Navios event, then Exel Maritime, and Aegean Protective Coatings, while popping in to say hi to Det Norske Veritas and Wartsila, before nipping off to Jardine Lloyd Thompson, then catching up with George Moundreas & Co, before rounding it off with a cocktail with Freeseas? No we haven’t seen him either, but I suspect he’s face down in the back of taxi somewhere in Vouliagmeni.
- Know what you’re after. Have a plan to see who you want, when you want. Otherwise you’ll end up flying home trying to work out how to tell the boss why there are no new sales leads coming in, but with a bloated liver the size of the Isle of Man.
- Be realistic. Greek owners aren’t daft. They’re here to look, talk and learn - not buy. Make contact, then back off. Do you really think these folk who make millions each week are going to respond well to an attempt to close a sale from a pasty sunburnt northern European sales rep who smells slights of stale booze ‘n’ fags?
- Hire a driver. All the cognescenti have a driver, or at least a pet taximan, on call and ready to go. Just remember, when the going gets tough, you can never find a taxi.
- Be smart: arrive early – leave early. The early bird, and all that? Posidonia starts the week before the official opening, with many high quality events the weekend before. If need be come back – as some P&I guys do – for the Union of Greek Shipowners’ bonanza party on the final Friday night.
- Have an exciting stand. I know it’s not all about the exhibition itself, but please, please, please make your stand interesting (the hot tip is that Lloyd’s Register have done something quite special this year). And if you can’t make it interesting – and this is for all the worthy pump makers out there – at least give away something more interesting that a badly photocopied sheet of your latest range of gaskets. Mini-footballs are good, while good coffee’s attractive to us hacks. Alcohol’s a cheap shot but, as always, but it works if you’re looking for the rough trade end of the business.
- Look busy: There’s nothing more unappealing that the sight on an exhibition stand of a crumpled-suited sales executive moronically munching through the complementary peanuts. Folks, you’re there to market, promote and sell. So look busy!
- Help those in need, this Posidonia. And the best way you can do that is to tell a juicy story to the next Lloyd’s List journalist you meet. We have families and children to feed too.
- Lastly, please get some exercise. A bit of a hobby-horse of mine, this one, but no man can live on cheap white wine and finger buffet food alone! Make half an hour before breakfast, pull on those running shoes and go for a short jog. As you feel Athens’ finest smog hitting the back of throat like a German army flamethrower, remember you’re doing this for yourself, your family, and your kids. Too many of us are sadly unfit, overweight, and die young. As you trundle alone the seafront as the sun is rising, you never know you might have found something that’ll save your life. Okay, sermon over.
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