5 Tips for Event Success

These shoes are killerWe attend a lot of events and trade shows. Luckily, our days of manning the booth are gone, but when we’re supporting a client event or filling a speaking slot we still get to enjoy the experience. Aching feet aside, it can be a lot of fun to see what’s new and have a chance to talk directly to the experts at their exhibits.  It’s an expensive proposition for a company to buy and staff exhibit space. Sadly though, many companies don’t end up with much return on their investment.

Here are 5 simple things you can do to improve the event experience – for your staff, for the attendees and for your bottom line.

  1. Have a plan. As ClearEdges’ Chris Jordan likes to say, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”. From what you show, to who you send, to what you offer; you need to think about how your exhibit fits the event. Review the attendee list in advance, identify key contacts you want to meet and invite them to meetings or special demos. If it’s a technical audience, send in the geeks – but if attendees are senior level executives, make sure someone can talk about how your offering can help their business.
  2. Get out from behind your table. Smile. And while you’re at it, put away the devices. You’re there to talk to people, so be engaging. Far too often, we walk past a booth where no one makes eye contact or even says hello.
  3. Save the demo for last. Ask why people are there and find out what their interests are before you start talking. Long before you launch into a demo, you should learn enough to make the conversation relevant to them and their business. 
  4. Dare to be different! Be creative with your booth design and your handouts. Lose the table or counter – it’s a barrier to engagement. Put a few comfortable chairs in your booth and people will want sit down and visit with you. Break away from the boring letter size spec sheets that just get tossed out. We recently used a 2.5”x4” single fold mini-brochure that was consistently tucked away in the pocket of whoever we gave it to. Why? It was different, attractive and “worth keeping”.
  5. Capture the lead! And follow up! Okay, this is two things in one, but they go hand in hand. Even if it’s as simple as a bowl of business cards, or as sophisticated as a badge scanner – make sure you know who talked to who and what they talked about. And after the event, send a follow up with a thank-you and an offer to continue the conversation.

We all invest a lot in hosting and attending events – and owe it to ourselves to make sure we get the most out of them. If you pick the right events to exhibit in and have a solid plan for audience engagement – there’s no better way to meet new prospects – face to face! Even with the sore feet – we still love events! Feel free to ask us more about our event strategy ideas for your next event.

Posted by Linda Jackson