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How To Throw A Press Conference At CES

Las Vegas – I have to hand it to Huawei, the Chinese cellphone and tablet maker. They know how to handle the crowds of reporters, bloggers and others who jam into overcrowded rooms to hear the latest product announcements from major CE companies.

Unlike some other companies who held press conferences – now called media events — at the Mandalay Bay on Monday, Huawei kept tabs of the number of RSVPs it received before the show, then found that more people would show up than its room could accommodate.

Thinking well in advance, the company reserved a second room on another floor where the event would be broadcast on closed-circuit TV.

 Before the show, I was informed that I would be “banished” to the remote room. I cringed. I wouldn’t have a chance to interview executives after their comments or ask followup product questions.

 Turns out it was the most productive large-scale press event that I ever attended at CES.

First, I wasn’t jammed with many many hundreds of people shoving me, pushing me, and making me trip over backpacks, tripods, and assorted camera equipment on the floor. Only 40 or 50 reporters and bloggers showed up in the remote room, which could accommodate perhaps 200. Even if all 200 turned out, it would have been a pleasant experience.

Second, Huawei brought some of its people to the remote room to answer product questions and let me play with the new products in a civilized manner, with no pushing or shoving to see products and no shouting over the other hordes to get a question in. The Huawei folks even had detailed specs to on hand to offer in response to questions.

And, most important, Huawei had coffee, food and desserts to make us feel a little better about our “banishment” to the remote room.

Huawei, banish me again.