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    Trade Shows and Exhibitions: Speak the Language

    When you’re a first time exhibitor, or if you've just recently launched your operations as a supplier or organiser in the trade and exhibitions industry, regardless of your location, you automatically earn a new but temporary title: “Rookie”. This is a word that primarily refers to “a new recruit”, a person who is new at something, and 99.9% of the time this title is accompanied by one common and inevitable emotion…confusion.

    As is found in any other industry, the jargon used in the trade and exhibitions industry becomes an official language, and needless to reiterate, it is highly mandatory for all professionals to be fluent in it.

    With assistance from the Exhibitor, herewith is Part 1 of the A – Z glossary of terms for your perusal:


    - A/V: Audio/visual support such as television monitors, VCRs, or taped music.
    - Advance Order: An order for services sent to the service contractor prior to the installation date. Compare with Floor Order.
    - Advance Rates: Fees associated with advance orders, which typically include discounts when paid in advance.
    - Advance Receiving: Location set by show management to receive freight before the start of a trade show or exhibition. Freight is stored at this location and then shipped to the show at the appropriate time.
    - Air Freight: Goods shipped via airplane.


    - Back-light: A light source that illuminates translucent material from behind.
    - Bill of Lading (B/L): A document that establishes the terms between a shipper and a transportation company for the transport of goods between specified points for a specified charge. Also see Air Waybill, Inland Bill of Lading, Ocean Bill of Lading, Through Bill of Lading.
    - Backwall: The panels at the rear of an exhibit.
    - Backwall Exhibit: An exhibition stand that is back-to-back with another exhibition stand or against a building wall.
    - Baffle: A partition designed to control light, air, sound, or traffic flow.
    - Blanket Wrap: Uncrated goods covered with blankets or other protective padding and shipped via van line. Also called Pad Wrap.
    - Blueprint: A scale drawing of exhibition stand space layout, construction, and specifications.
    - Boneyard: A storage area for empty crates and contractor materials.
    - Breakpoint: The level at which a discount is given for a volume order.
    - Build and Burn: An exhibition stand designed and built for one-time use.


    - C.I.F (Cost Insurance Freight): A pricing term indicating that these charges are included in the stated price.
    - CAD/CAM: Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing.
    - Carrier: A transportation line moving freight. Usually a van line, common carrier, rail line, or air carrier. Also see Common Carrier.
    - Common Carrier: A transportation company moving people or goods. For exhibition stand freight, the carrier usually accepts only crated materials and consolidates the properties of several customers into one shipment bound for the same destination.
    - Cartage: (1) The fee charged for transporting freight. (2) The moving of exhibition stand properties over a short distance.
    - Clean bill of lading: A carrier-issued receipt indicating that transported merchandise was received in apparent good condition. Compare with Foul Bill of Lading.
    - Column: A pillar in an exposition facility which supports the roof or other overhead structures. Usually shown on a floor plan as a solid square.
    - Commercial Invoice: An itemized list of shipped goods.
    - Custom Exhibition Stand: A display designed and built to meet the specific needs of an exhibitor.


    - D.O.T: Department of Transportation.
    - D.T Labor: Double Time Labor. Work performed on overtime and charged at twice the published rate.
    - Dead Man: Temporary post used during installation to help support the weight of an overhead structure.
    - Dead Time: Time when a worker is unable to perform duties due to factors beyond his or her control.
    - Dock: A platform where freight is loaded onto and removed from vehicles or vessels.
    - Dolly: A low, wheeled frame with a platform used for carrying heavy or cumbersome objects.
    - Double Decker: A two-storied exhibition stand. Also known as Multiple Story exhibition stand.
    - Drayage Contractor: A company responsible for handling exhibition stand materials at a trade show or exhibition.
    - Duplex Outlet: A double electrical outlet.


    - Electrical Contractor: A company hired by show management to provide electrical services to exhibitors.
    - Elevations: Scaled drawings depicting front and side views of an exhibition stand.
    - End Cap: An exhibition stand space with aisles on three sides.
    - Exclusive Contractor: A contractor appointed by show management as the sole provider of specified services.
    - Exhibitor Kit: A package of information which contains all rules, regulations, and forms relating to an exhibition, provided to exhibitors by show management. Also called a Service Kit.
    - Export Broker: An individual or company that brings together buyers and sellers for a fee.
    - Exposition Rules: The set of regulations which govern a given trade show.


    - Fabrication: The construction of an exhibition stand.
    - FHC: A notation on floor plans indicating the locations of fire hose cabinets.
    - Fiber Optics: The use of cut glass fibers to display coloured light.
    - Fire Retardant: Term used to describe a finish which coats materials with a fire-resistant (not fire proof) cover.
    - Floor Order: Order for services placed after exhibition stand installation has begun. Compare with Advance Order.
    - Floor Port: A utility box recessed in the floor containing electrical, telephone, or plumbing connections.
    - Foul Bill of Lading: A carrier-issued receipt indicating that transported merchandise was damaged when received. Compare with Clean Bill of Lading.
    - Freight: Exhibition properties and other materials shipped for an exhibition.


    - Gangway: International term referring to the "aisle".
    - General Contractor: A Show management appointed company providing services to a trade show and/or its exhibitors. Also called Official Contractor.
    - Graphic: A photo, copy panel, or artwork applied to an exhibition stand.


    - Hand Truck: Small hand-propelled vehicle used for transporting small loads.
    - Hard Card: (1) Work order for labor or services. (2) Drayage contractor's record of materials received or shipped.
    - Header: A sign or other structure across the top of an exhibition stand.
    - High Jacker: Equipment used to lift people to a given height.
    - Hold Harmless Clause: A contract clause that relieves one party of responsibility in the event of a legal claim.


    - I&D: Installation & Dismantle (of an exhibition stand). Also known as Set Up and Take-down.
    - Infringement: An exhibitor's unauthorized use of floor space outside the leased exhibition stand area.
    - In-Line: An exhibition stand that is constructed in a continuous line along an aisle. Also called Linear Display.
    - Inventory: Total amount of equipment available for a trade show or exhibition.
    - Island Exhibition stand: A display with aisles on four sides.


    - Jigged Crate: A special-purpose crate with hardware to secure exhibition stand properties in place to prevent shifting during shipment.
    - Job Foreman: A person in charge of supervising and coordinating workers.
    - Junction Box: A distribution point for electrical power.


    - K.D (Knockdown): An exhibition stand with separate components that must be assembled on-site.


    - Lamination: The process of bonding two or more substances together.
    - Light Box: An enclosure which contains lighting underneath a translucent facing material. Used to back-light signs or graphics applied to the face.
    - Loading Dock: An area within an exposition facility where freight is received and shipped.
    - Less than Truckload: The rate charged for freight weighing less than the minimum weight for a truckload.


    - Marshalling Yard: A lot where trucks gather for orderly dispatch to show site.
    - Masking Drape: A cloth used to cover storage or other unsightly areas.
    - Modular Exhibit: An exhibition stand constructed with interchangeable components designed to be set up in various arrangements and sizes.
    - Move-in: The date specified by show management for beginning exhibition stand installation.
    - Move-out: The date specified by show management for dismantling exhibition stands.
    - Multimedia: Combining two or more types of audio/visual support in a presentation.

    Information retrieved from the following source:
    - Exhibitor




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    EXSA enables connections through the networking and communication of our Forums and via our website (www.exsa.co.za).

    Besides providing EXSA’s directory of members, an exhibitions calendar and news feed, the EXSA website also offers a wealth of knowledge and industry guidelines available to its members.



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