What Time Outs and Trade Shows Have in Common

If you’ve ever had kids, you know that the popular culture tells you to use a “Time Out” rather than a spanking when kids misbehave. Deep down you might really feel like laying the smack down on the toddler when they paint on the living room furniture with your wife’s make-up brushes, but you know that that type of discipline has been proven time and time again to be ineffective. Thus, you use the Time Out in hopes that your child will get the message and turn into the little angel you know he should be—the kind of angel who never cries and changes his own diaper.

There was a time when spankings were considered the right form of discipline. I can remember being spanked as a child by my father whose hands were the size of pothole covers and just as hard. Nowadays, the Time Out has all but replaced spanking as a form of child discipline. They just work better. That is, they work better if you do them right. If you don’t do them right you will wind up in a fierce battle of wits with your child which will certainly result in years of therapy for both of you.

Doing a Time Out “right” includes some fairly well-documented structure that includes the following steps:

  1. Warnings
  2. Placement in the Time Out spot
  3. Explanation of why they are there
  4. Observing proper time limits (usually one minute for each year of age)
  5. Reminding of the why they are their
  6. Asking for an apology
  7. Hugs and kisses
  8. Back to fun

Tantamount to a Time Out is the parent’s ability to not only observe the right steps in the right order, but also to maintain calm in the heat of battle. Calm but firm, no arguing or talking, just follow the rules. Failure to skip one step or losing your temper can turn the whole thing into an exercise in futility that will likely backfire.

Trade Show Samurai-style strategy is similar in many ways. First, it works better than spankings. Attendees hate to be spanked and it rarely starts a relationship off on the right foot. It’s also better than traditional Dog & Pony-style strategies that have been in use for decades.

Skip a step or do them out of order and the interaction may not turn out the way you had hoped. Do it right and you will capture a good lead that is ready to hear your message.

Trade Shows and Time Outs are all about behaviors. The structure may seem awkward or even unnecessary, but without it the program just doesn’t yield the best results. You may find yourself smacking your kids or smacking conference attendees, do this and you’re headed for trouble.

Mike Moyer

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