When you are planning to present your company and wares at a trade show, convention, workshop or career fair, the road leading up to the big day is typically fraught with preparation, orders, projects and last-minute arrangements. You get ready for your big appearance for weeks, making sure that everything is in order and clocking long hours. Everyone has horror stories about the night before a big event, when they suddenly realize that they can’t find their booth reservation slip or forgot to order more business cards. But there are ways to eliminate some of the hassle and make the most of your event so that all of your hard work leads to successful results.
Here are some tips that will ensure your exhibition runs smoothly to help make the experience as relaxing and rewarding as possible:
• Determine a target audience. From design to materials to pitches, one way to rally before a trade show is to determine who you’re trying to approach. Simply making an impact isn’t enough; with a diverse array of attendants, you’ll want to be sure you interact with and impress the correct people. With this goal in mind, it will be easier to streamline your objectives and organize your preparation.
• Keep a tight budget. Throwing a lot of money at your booth set-up or handouts isn’t the way to achieve success. By keeping a strict, low budget and only investing in what will intrigue and inform your target audience, you’ll walk away with greater return on investment.
• Train one cohesive team. The same team who will attend your event and staff your exhibition should be on-board throughout preparation. Keeping everyone on the same page and allowing them to participate from the ground up ensures their knowledgeable performance on game day, and also builds team strength.
• Prepare sound bites. Have you worked on your elevator speech in awhile? Now is the perfect time to train your team how to explain your business in one minute or less. The ability to create a big impact with limited time is key to succeeding on a convention floor. Unenthused or unprepared answers can undo all of the effort you’ve put into preparing for your exhibition.
• Don’t count heads. Your purpose at an exhibit isn’t just to collect or pass out business cards; you should focus on building relationships rather than speaking quickly to as many people as possible. Although your efforts may be less measurable at the end of the day, you’ll see greater results over time by creating bonds with individuals than by prioritizing the length of your sign-up sheet.
• Use your time wisely. From the moment you hit the floor, be prepared to work. No matter how many trips to the coffee machine it takes, your team needs to be attentive and energetic throughout the day. From set-up to break-down, trade show dates can feel like the longest days of your work year. But that’s just more reason to juice every moment for what it’s worth. If you’re not going to go for the glory, what’s the point of signing up at all?