Trade Show Attitudes—Beyond the “Power of Positive” Platitudes


During the recent 2015 Exhibitors Academy in Las Vegas, we were treated to one of the most engaging keynote addresses one could hope to have. Presented by Jefferson Davis—better known as the “Tradeshow Turnaround Artist”—his hour-long address had the nearly 100 Academy attendees furiously taking notes and competing for attention during the Q&A session.

There were more than a few highlights to Davis’ talk, and we’ll cover those as time and space allow here, but the core of his presentation, and the concept that everyone talked about continually throughout the Academy’s two-and-half days of learning sessions and roundtables, was that of how exhibitors perceive their time at a trade show—and how those perceptions can either swing your profits and growth in the aftermath to the black or sink your time and investment in just being at a show firmly into the red.

Without a doubt, attending a tradeshow as big as SHOT Show entails a tremendous amount of work, especially for exhibitors who have to deal with the logistics of getting their display to the show, staffing their booth during the event and then getting it all packed up and moving on to the home warehouse or the next show on the calendar. This causes many to feel trade shows are something that have to be merely endured. But, according to Davis, it’s just that attitude, that a show is something you have to get through and nothing more, that will absolutely prevent you from profiting all those days, weeks and months after the show. Why? Because working a trade show as an exhibitor is an investment—both in time and money—and investments are something from which you should expect a return.

Davis presented a very simple model for focusing on the investment and return, rather than the logistics. It looks like this:


Correct Perspective
+ Execution of Strategic Practices
= Maximum Tradeshow Results

I’m going to break down this formula over several news posts to, so let’s start with the first part of this equation, the CP, or Correct Perspective.

Lest you think this is going to be a speech about putting on your “happy face,” CP is anything but those so easily issued platitudes of “If you just think positive, it will be positive.”

CP, according to Davis, actually has a number of tangible components. The first is that you, as an exhibitor, must be clear with yourself (and likely your accountant) about just what it is you think you’re buying when you invest in exhibiting at SHOT.

Too many think they have to be at SHOT because not being there means they’ll be forgotten; in other words, the show becomes nothing more than making an appearance. Others think they’re buying floor space or opportunity or chance. While any of these could be considered the reason you write that check each year, if that’s what you limit your thinking to, there’s not much for you to focus on in the way of returns and increased profitability over the rest of the year.

I bet “profitability” caught your attention. Good thing, because that’s what you should be thinking of when you think about the investment you make in attending SHOT each year. In that light, according to Davis, what you’re really buying, then, is face-to-face contact that results in:

  • Placement and building of your company, staff and product identity. This is your brand and reputation, and there’s no better or easier way to establish and then remind everyone else of both than when you have the captive, trade-dedicated audience that is SHOT Show.
  • Face-to-face contact with the right.  Getting your product to the consumer is a team effort between you and dozens of people within our industry—from manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer and, yes, the members of the press who will be telling your story through hundreds of magazines, blogs, You-Tube channels and other media platforms throughout the year. Uninhibited by consumer relations, SHOT Show is your primary opportunity to fine-tune your network of inter-industry relations, something you won’t have the opportunity to do throughout the rest of the year without racking up thousands of frequent flier miles.
  • An exchange of information relevant and timely to all those in your supply chain, a direct result of the face-to-face time afforded by your show attendance. This, in turn, drives …
  • A commitment to action. In other words, because of your decision to exhibit at SHOT, you have better established your company brand and identity, which leads to improved interaction with the people most likely to help your business grow. With those “right” people and the ability to arrange face-to-face time with them, you have exchanged all the right and necessary information regarding your company and products, and it is that exchange of information that will prompt all those “right” people to commit to action—buy your product and move it along to the consumer.

All of this is really no more than a way to see the forest despite the trees. If you can see the forest—the building of a network that commits to your product and helps you sell it all year ‘round—then setting up shop at SHOT quickly becomes the thing you most look forward to each year. And isn’t that always a much better attitude to have?


Chris Dolnack is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.

2016 SHOT Show Selected for International Buyer Program

For the third year in a row, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s® (NSSF’s®) SHOT Show® has been selected by the federal government’s International Trade Administration (ITA) as one of just 23 trade events chosen to participate in the ITA’s International Buyer Program (IBP) in 2016. U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig made the announcement in a press release Monday.

The IBP is a joint effort between the U.S. government and industry to bring thousands of international buyers to the United States for business-to-business matchmaking with U.S. firms exhibiting at major industry trade shows. An integral component of SHOT Show, the IBP serves as a value-added service to U.S. exhibitors at the show. The IBP recruited more than 420 international buyers representing 28 countries to the 2015 SHOT Show, where they participated in defined networking opportunities geared to maximize import/export potential with U.S-based manufacturers. Those opportunities included:

  • Showtime Program: U.S. exhibitors have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with U.S. Department of Commerce industry specialists from its overseas embassies. During these meetings, these specialists will brief attendees on individual market opportunities as well as discuss the challenges related to the safety/security and textile/sporting goods sectors and market potential for SHOT Show exhibitor products and services.
  • B2B Matchmaking Program: This focused business-to-business program allows the IBP to promote U.S. businesses to overseas delegates before and during the show. Exhibitors who register for this service have their company profile shared with pre-screened international buyers recruited to attend the 2015 SHOT Show by U.S. Department of Commerce industry specialists. More than 300 SHOT Show exhibitors participated in this service.
  • Export Counseling: At the International Trade Center, exhibitors to SHOT Show can visit and receive expert trade counseling from Department of Commerce trade specialists who help U.S.-based SHOT Show exhibitors identify the best markets for their products and introduce those companies to those international delegates seeking goods from these makers.

“We are extremely pleased that the ITA has recognized once again the potential for expansion SHOT Show provides its American exhibitors through the connections they make in the IBP program,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “This program grew 30 percent from its inaugural event in 2014 to its second gathering last year, simply enormous growth, and growth that plainly shows the firearms industry is fully engaged in capturing new markets and exploring new opportunities for profitability. Thanks to the continued support from the ITA and the renewal of the IBP program, we expect the expansion of this program to continue its strong, upward trend in the years to come.”

The 2016 SHOT Show will be held Jan. 19-22 in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Sands Expo. More information on the 2016 SHOT Show and the IBP program can be found at Registration is expected to open in August.

Melissa Schilling is the Director of  Conferences and Exhibitions for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

2015 SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy Earns High Praise


Nearly 100 new and veteran SHOT Show exhibitors last week attended the 2015 SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy, where exhibitors filled seminar rooms at the Sands Expo Center to learn how to maximize their return on investment and exchange ideas to improve the show experience for all in attendance.

P1020028The first day of the Academy opened with some quick-witted remarks by Rick Harrison, star of the Las Vegas-based reality TV show “Pawn Stars,” as he urged the crowd to continue to fight for their Second Amendment rights and protection of the shooting sports. NSSF’s President and CEO Steve Sanetti then took the mic to welcome attendees and provide an overview of the Academy’s agenda, before turning over the stage for the afternoon’s keynote address. With an emphasis on perspective and how exhibitors can look at SHOT Show as an investment from which returns should be expected, motivational speaker and trade show expert Jefferson Davis took no time at all engaging the crowd in a focused exchange of ideas that forced exhibitors to reevaluate how the 2016 SHOT Show can be their best show ever.

Treated to numerous seminars and one-on-one sessions covering everything from budgeting, advertising opportunities and vendor contracting to interacting with the media, lead retrieval and improved logistics handling, the Academy strongly encouraged interaction both between exhibitors and with show management and their partners. A special highlight to these sessions was the presentation by noted social media expert Traci Browne. The author of The Social Trade Show emphasized how exhibitors can capitalize on the power of social media through a dedicated plan of before, during and after-show outreach campaigns, and her engaging speaking style had even the most experienced vendors taking notes and asking questions.

“We were very pleased to see so much interaction among the exhibitors in attendance,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “With a mix of veteran exhibitors and those who had a booth with us only a year or two, everyone was truly invested in working to make the SHOT Show a better experience not just for each other, but for everyone whom they’ll interact with during the show. That’s the kind of teamwork this industry and the SHOT Show need to continue on the successful trajectory they’ve experienced over the last several years.”

The 2016 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show will be held January 19-22 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information, visit

NSSF would like to extend a special thanks to its SHOT Show partners ConvExx, Freeman, Century Security, as well as the many professionals at the Sands Expo Center and The Palazzo and Venetian hotels (NSSF’s headquarters hotels for SHOT Show) for their contributions to the 2015 SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy.

Melissa Schilling is the Director of  Conferences and Exhibitions for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

2016 Industry Day at the Range Already Gaining Traction

Take a closer look at Industry Day at the Range.

While the 2015 Industry Day at the Range set a record for attendance, our management partners aren’t resting on their laurels. CMG Marketing & Events’ Cathy Williams and her staff are fast-tracking sponsors and exhibitors to ensure next year’s event is equally successful.

“We recently signed Kriss USA as a Supporting Sponsor of our event,” said Cathy Williams, CMG Owner. “We have had the pleasure of working with this company and its wonderful staff for many years as an exhibitor, and we are excited that their sponsorship this year will help continue the successful, upward trajectory that Industry Day is enjoying.”

Following record attendance at the 2015 event and a new invitation-only format that both better controlled admittance to credentialed media members and allowed for a select number of buyers to attend, CMG opened registration for the 2016 event on May 4.

“Exhibitor commitment to the 2016 Industry Day has been very strong in its first 30 days,” said Williams. “We’re already down to just two pistol range slots remaining, and shotgun, archery and non-shooting exhibitor spaces are filling at a steady rate. We’d also like to remind all NSSF and industry members that Industry Day at the Range is a great opportunity to get your brand out there if you’re on the waiting list for booth space at the SHOT Show. Not only can Industry Day provide hands-on awareness with media members and buyers looking for new companies producing quality goods, it’s a great way to get your feet wet with a show as big as SHOT Show before a space on the show floor becomes available.”

The 2015 Industry Day at the Range was attended by more than 1,100 members of media and 400 buyers getting a hands-on try of the goods on display by more than 170 manufacturers. Exhibitors included truck makers, knife artisans and archery equipment crafters, but none were more popular than the firearms and ammunition manufactures. More than 500,000 rounds of ammunition were expended by the crowd.

Industry Day at the Range is held annually on the day before the opening of each year’s SHOT Show. NSSF is the event’s leading sponsor, where we take the opportunity to spread the word about Project ChildSafe and “Own it? Respect it. Secure it.” You can see a preview of how this event works here. Want to become an exhibitor? Click here or visit

Chris Dolnack is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.

SHOT Show 2015 Exhibitor Academy—We Want You!

It is with great pride and excitement that NSSF is making plans for its second annual SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy. Following on the tremendous success of last year’s inaugural event, this year’s Academy is set to be bigger, better and even more informative than the first.

Scheduled for June 16-18 in Las Vegas, Nevada, the 2015 SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy is two and half days of educational seminars designed to help our SHOT Show exhibitors:

  • Target buyers
  • Maximize return on investment
  • Get their brands noticed
  • Organize and maintain a show budget
  • Capitalize on the Exhibitor Resource Center

In addition to these important education sessions, during this year’s Academy exhibitors will have a chance to interact directly with SHOT Show management and personnel from NSSF, ConvExx, Freeman, Century Security and the Venetian/Palazzo. Attendees will also be able to tour the entire Sands Expo Center and meet with show contractors offering a variety of booth services such as lighting and catering. The Academy is an excellent place to network with other exhibitors, learning what works and doesn’t work straight from the horse’s mouth, and attendees will also have the opportunity to learn about special discounts on services from a variety of show contractors.

To fully realize the results we expect our exhibitors to gain from attending the 2015 SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy, NSSF offers this event free of charge to any SHOT Show exhibitor with reserved booth space for the 2016 SHOT Show. In addition to complimentary admission to the Academy itself, NSSF will also provide hotel rooms, transportation to the Sands from your hotel of choice if needed and breakfast, lunch and evening receptions for the duration of the Academy. All you need to do is apply to attend and book your flight to Vegas.

More than 97 percent of exhibitors attending last year’s SHOT Show Academy said they’d definitely recommend the Academy to other exhibitors. Reservations are open now, but seating is limited. Applications to attend will be approved in a first-come, first-served basis, so reserve your place now. Read more about this year’s SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy here or contact Cassandra Stock,, 702-216-5836.


Chris Dolnack is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.

2015 SHOT Show ‘Tremendously Valuable,’ Satisfaction High

The 2015 SHOT Show, held this past January at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, has proven itself to be one of the best across the collective spectrum of exhibitors, buyers, law enforcement personnel and media members of the show, according to a recent survey conducted by NSSF.

While attendance was down slightly from the record-setting number of 2014 that reduction was due to a concerted effort by NSSF to purge the attendance roster of 2,200 non-qualified buyers, an effort those admitted greatly appreciated. Many comments we received indicated both exhibitors and attendees noticed that the crowd quality was higher, leading directly to a more productive show for everyone.

“The show was beyond expectations,” Arthur Grant of Packin’ Fur Defense told us. “We found several suppliers willing to work with us despite our being a small start-up in the restricted Southern California concealed carry market space. We were able to find a distributor to work with, as well as a half-dozen vendors who are new themselves to distributing to retailers.”

It wasn’t just the show floor that got rave reviews. Every one of NSSF’s dozen Retailer Seminars was sold out to capacity, as was SHOT Show University, while many press conferences were filled to standing room only. NSSF’s press conference announcing our research department’s newest report, “Women Gun Owners: Purchasing, Perceptions and Participation,” was still turning people away at the door 20 minutes into the presentation.

Several other areas of the show displayed remarkable growth. The New Product Center had more than 600 products on exhibit, double that from 2014, but the real boost there came in the product scans: 28,000 versus 8,500 from last year. Our International Buyer’s Program was also another event that doubled its participation. Overall, the 2015 SHOT Show was a tremendous success, as you can see below, and that’s something that prompts us to make next year’s show even better.

I’d love to hear your SHOT Show success story. Email me at Contributors will be randomly selected to receive SHOT Show swag.


Chris Dolnack is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.

More From the Floor: SHOT Show, Where the Work Gets Done

workDoneIt’s said over and over that SHOT Show is the place to be for anyone in the industry. Turns out there’s a lot of truth to that phrase.

Melesia Cisneros, Marketing Supervisor with Berger Bullets told us, “It really is about the face to face time that makes business through the rest of the year succeed. You need to sit down, shake someone’s hand, and when you can put a face to a name you’ve been talking to on the phone, that’s what builds the relationships. Also, we introduced a new brand this year, Applied Ballistics Munitions (ABM). Sure, we can do that at other shows, but this is the show to make that kind of introduction.”

Tom Heiser, Sales Executive with Celerant Technologies, a leading company in multi-channel e-commerce solutions and one of NSSF’s Affinity Member Benefits partners, told us “This show really gives us the chance to reconnect with our current customers, as well as introduce ourselves to new ones. We have a unique product, and this show gives us a chance to explain its ins and outs and why it can be such an asset to those in this industry.

Gary Byers, owner of Pro-Defense, tells us that for new products, the SHOT Show is making them a success. “We’re seeing more buyers than before, and they’re looking for not just new products, but unique products, which we have. We’ve been here on and off for 30 years, and this is the best show yet that we’ve attended and very productive for us as we launch these new products.”

Rick Alsen, National Sales Manger for Bevertail, which offers a line of waterfowling boats, blinds and other related equipment, acknowledged the value of the show for a company like Pro-Defense, but noted that there’s more to the show than that. “For many, this show is about showing new products,” Alsen told us. “For us, especially since we’re a brand that’s been around for a while and at this show before, it’s about finalizing details. We love the SHOT Show for that aspect of what we do, and it’s also vital for its connection with our international buyers. We do quite a bit of business with Russia, Finalnd, Sweden and Norway, for example, and if you’re not here and they are, you can quickly be forgotten. But by seeing our booth, our brand as they work the floor, they remember to have the meetings they need to with us.”

The working outdoor press, marketing professionals and associated industry organizations also get much from attending the show.

Mike Capps, Senior Account Executive with Howard Communications, “It’s a chance for us to interact with all the media and put them together with our clients. You can’t beat this kind of show for personal interaction, and despite how useful email and the phone is, you need that personal touch to really make the process works.

Steve Hall, Executive Director International Hunter Education Association-U.S.A., said, “I get a chance to thank all our supporters and sponsors personally, and that’s invaluable to a non-profit like us. Also, NSSF helps get the word out to the industry and retailers about us and helps us engage with them to help them understand the national voice behind the individual state efforts.”

Award-winning author Ron Spomer really summed up the show for us, though, saying, “Obviously, the making and maintaining contacts is integral to the show, but it’s the convenience of having everything and everyone at every level—manufacturers, public relations, marketing, retailers, other media members—that makes this show as productive as it is. It’s kind of like going to the Academy Awards—everyone who is somebody and is effective in the industry is here.”

SHOT Show Day 2—Word from the Floor

16150066919_046450c5b9_zThe staff at NSSF was receiving such positive feedback from the media in the press room, we thought Day No. 2 of the show would be a good time to take the temperature of the show floor and see how our exhibitors were getting along. Here’s what they had to say.

Cindy Daniel, Executive Vice President of Daniel Defense, one of this year’s top sponsors of the SHOT Show, said, “It’s been a very busy show. We’re optimistic that with the good vibe we’re seeing on the floor sales will pick up again and we’ll have a solid year.”

Daniel could very well be right. The show floor was humming with activity and we heard positive things from companies around the show.

“We’ve been pretty busy and there hasn’t been much down time,” said Kort Nielson, who works in marketing for Silencer Co. “Increasing our booth size and design and its new position in this hall has been good for traffic, but we’re also focusing on education.” Silencer Co. is holding two seminars this week for retailers on how to sell silencers.

Alexander Crown, working with military sales and suppressor tools in the Gemtech booth, told us, “Customers this year are more enthusiastic about the firearms industry as a whole. They seem to really be enjoying the technologies being offered.”

Jeff Patterson, PR guru with the Swanson Russell firm, said, “All our clients are happy with the traffic—SIG, Bad Boy Buggies, Otis Technologies, Weatherby, Leupold. The Leupold booth has been so crowded I can barely make it through, and most of our clients are looking forward to a steady year.”

Mike Capps, Senior Account Executive with PR firm Howard Communications echoed Patterson. “The ATK booth has been swamped . . . I think it’s due to the fact that it’s become one-stop shopping for the buyers. Under one roof you now have firearms, ammunition, optics and accessories, and we’re very pleased with the traffic that mix is generating.”

One company recognizing the leveling off of sales our industry experienced in 2014 isn’t resting on its laurels. Redding Reloading is experiencing high growth through expansion in international markets. “While we’re better servicing our domestic clients better right now, because we’ve been able to reduce our order backlog time from the four months we were experiencing last year (due to high volume) to two to three weeks this year, we’re really seeing tremendous growth in international markets,” explained Robin Sharpless, Executive Vice President. “Canada and South Africa in particular are proving very lucrative, as well as Australia and New Zealand.”

How to Approach Exhibitors: Buyer Advice from 3 SHOT Show Pros


With more than 1,600 exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of products, buyers working the floor of SHOT Show are certainly challenged when it comes to discovering the goods their clients need and connecting with the manufacturer’s reps who can work with them to place orders and close the deals. In an effort to help those buyers get the most out of their time on the floor, we reached out to two high-profile PR and marketing firms to ask them what their clients, SHOT Show’s exhibitors, are looking for when they meet with buyers.

“The exhibitors do want to know how the past year was for their buyers and retailers, what customers are coming into stores asking for, i.e., concealed carry, long guns, specific accessories, etc.,” said Kim Cahalan, Vice President of Media Relations for Media Direct Creative Group, Inc., which counts Rock River Arms, Taurus Brands, Apex Gear, TRUGLO and Wildlife Research Center among its many clients. “The companies we work with really want to know from the buyers and retailers both what’s selling and what’s sitting on their shelves.

“When the buyer gets to the meeting or booth appointment, they should ask right away for the new 2015 promotions, range programs, etc., so the booth staff can dedicate a person to take them through the new product, showing the selling features and benefits of the product to help make their jobs easier when then return to the shop and getting them into the best promotions we are offering,” Cahalan emphasized. “Whatever the buyer needs from the manufacturer, I’d suggest writing those items on the back of their business card and handing it to the point person in the booth. In other words, if that buyer is out of product catalogs, for example, please don’t tell someone in the booth and expect them to remember, even if you are a valued customer. The SHOT Show is so crazy, that kind of request will inevitably fall through the cracks.”

Cahalan emphasized that her clients truly want buyers to have a pleasant and productive experience when they visit their booths.

“Feedback is always welcome. But beating up the folks in the booth about deliveries or other problematic situations isn’t the best way to get such personal and individual issues resolved. Simply put, there’s a time and a place for those discussions, but the show floor isn’t it. Instead, a buyer should introduce themselves and give a short description of the situation they’re having trouble with, then ask to have someone to follow up with you after the show to resolve the situation and get that person’s name and contact information. I believe the buyer will get a very positive response and hasty resolution of their problem by handling it that way.”

Kevin Howard, President of Howard Communications, which reps such prestigious companies as Browning, Bushnell, Hunter’s Specialties, Mossy Oak and Uncle Mike’s, also weighed in on the conversation.

“First thing I’d do as a buyer is check out the SHOT Show Planner link and download the SHOT Show Mobile App to your smartphones and tablets. Next, buyers and retailers should make a list of the products and exhibitors they must see, set up appointments with sales reps for the first two or three days of the show, using the show floor plan to make a systematic list so you are not running all over the show for appointments—then make sure you make the appointments. To maximize who and what you see at the show, make a second list of exhibitors you’d like to see as your schedule permits, creating that list from the SHOT Show Planner you’ve already utilized.

“As you walk the floor in between appointments, make a list of interesting booths you pass,” Howard advised. “Then take the last day of the show to visit those booths and investigate those products that might be good additions to your store or current lines. These will usually be found at the smaller booths, so learn to look for them on your way to appointments at the bigger booth setups.”

Laura Burgess, President of the well-respected firm Laura Burgess Marketing, talked to several heads of the companies she reps for us.

“I would tell a dealer to come to the SHOT Show with an open mind and look for companies that stand out from the rest,” said Burgess’ client Michael Sodini, President of Eagle Imports. “Everyone seems to get stuck in the rut of carrying the same things. Then they ultimately cut each other so it becomes a rat race to the bottom of the barrel.”

Another client on Burgess’ long list, Russ Datson, Director of Sales for Liberty Ammunition, echoed Sodini, stating, “I would advise a dealer to allocate some time to visit with some of the newer companies in the industry. We all get stuck in our comfort zones, visiting with the manufacturers and people we regularly work with, and while it is important to maintain those relationships, it is equally important to familiarize yourself with the upcoming players in the industry and evaluate the products they are bringing to market. Like it or not, trends are prevalent in our industry, a savvy dealer understands these trends and stays on top of them.”

The full list of 2015 SHOT Show exhibitors is available here. You’ll also find the show’s floor plan, product and seminar listings and a schedule of show specials and celebrity appearances there. The SHOT Show Planner can be found here, and be sure to download the 2015 SHOT Show Mobile App available in the Apple App store and on Google Play for iPhone and Android products, respectively, and in a Windows App for Blackberry devices. Click here for more information.


Chris Dolnack is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.

Less Than 30 Days Until the 2015 SHOT Show! Are You Prepared?

The real countdown has begun—there are less than 30 days remaining until the doors open on the 2015 SHOT Show. Are you prepared? Take a look at the tips we have for exhibitors, buyers and retailers and media, as well as some important items that will help everyone attending SHOT Show (be sure to read through to the end!).


  • Check the list of December 26 deadlines for catering, sign hanging, electrical, Internet and much, much more.
  • Do you have all your exhibitor badges (based on your allocation) finalized for your booth personnel?
  • Did you schedule a press conference? Now’s the time to get your press materials in order, send out invites to the media members and buyers you want to attend, and get working on your PowerPoint presentations.
  • There are still a handful of slots available for the all-new SHOT Showcase Theater. This is a unique opportunity to have your newest products and lines in front of media members and buyers in a high-intensity, multi-media forum. Contact Chris Tatulli, NSSF Director, Exhibit and Sponsorship Sales,
  • Get your press kits in order—jump drives, CDs, catalogs and press contact business cards. There will be more than 2,500 members of the media in attendance, and they need these materials. Also, remember to take advantage of the press bins in the Pressroom that are made available to members of the media; exhibitors may reserve up to two bins here. Media members tell us this is one of the first places they turn to for press kits, especially when the floor is busy and finding someone to talk to in a booth gets more difficult.
  • Are you holding a press conference in your booth? Let us know so that we can add your conference to our calendar of events. The press conference application provides an option for you to tell us that your booth will be the conference location, so please utilize that function.


  • Make the SHOT Show Planner your new home page and use the floor plan tab to set meetings and see all you need to see without zig-zagging the entire show floor and wasting time.
  • While you’re planning appointments, make sure to utilize the Show Special tab under the SHOT Show Planner. There are nearly 100 brands offering show-only specials, with more added every week.
  • SHOT Show University—This year’s lineup of topics and speakers is better than ever. Literally something for everyone from new store owner to veteran entrepreneur, this year’s University will also be open to exhibitors to encourage better communication and understanding of the manufacturer-to-consumer production chain. See the full course and speaker listing here and apply today—seating is limited!
  • The 2015 New Product Center should be on every buyer’s must-see list. Greatly expanded in size this year, you’ll find booth and company contact information for each product so that you may go directly to the floor for additional information.
  • This year NSSF will host more than a dozen Retail Seminars throughout the week with topics ranging from understanding key profit centers to compliance, as well as a special session on straw purchase prevention. Sessions are just $20 each, but worth their weight in gold. See the full schedule here.


  • Press Room—As always, this is the place to be. Remember that the press room has a number of amenities press members need, such as free Wi-fi, electronic device charging stations, multiple PC and Mac work stations with printers, coat check and more. You can also find hot coffee and bottled water there throughout the day.
  • Press conferences will be held in Room 3401, Level 3, San Polo Ballroom of the Venetian, near the press room. A finalized list of available conferences will be posted here before the show begins.
  • NSSF Media Members have access to the Member’s Lounge during the show. The Member’s Lounge provides a quiet place to have a meeting, catch up on emails or just take a breather in between booth visits. A free lunch is also provided each day of the show.
  • Keep up with NSSF’s Twitter board during the show. Follow @NSSFSHOTShow now for announcements and of course search for and use #SHOTshow to follow the excitement of the show.
  • A full list of room numbers, phone numbers and websites important to our media members is available here.


  • The SHOT Show Mobile App is available now for Apple, Android and Blackberry smartphones and tablets. Simply go to to link directly to the appropriate stores from your mobile device, or click here if opening from a web browser for more information or visit the app store for your mobile device and search for “2015 SHOT Show.”
  • Business cards—double what you think you need. It’s not worth running out mid-show.
  • Need to know where to go after show hours? Visit SHOT on a Dime to find dozens of restaurants on and near the strip that offer dining below $50, plus a list of local attractions.
  • Did you know SHOT Show has a concierge service? Traveler can help you with show tickets, tours, restaurant reservations and more.

This will be the last SHOT Blog post before the Christmas celebration. On behalf of everyone at NSSF, may all of you and yours have a safe and wonderful holiday. We look forward to seeing everyone in Las Vegas.


Diedra Cauley is the Director of Exhibitions and Conferences for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow her on Twitter at @dcauley.