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Have you attended expos and passed by booths who promise the world but issue you boring flyers and showcase a company profile video on loop? It doesn’t have to be that way.

Plan What you Want to Say
Before you start planning your in-booth presentation, ask yourself whether or not you have anything interesting to say. If you have new products, new features on existing products, or a new marketing campaign, then a live presentation might help peak interest.

You can use your booth to dispel myths about your company or products, demonstrate a complex technology, or educate attendees about who you are, what you do, and why they should buy your products. A mini-live presentation instead of one-to-one conversations can help you reach a greater number of booth visitors and passersby.

Once you’ve identified that you do, have something interesting to say that is relevant to attendees. For example, if the bulk of the show’s attendees represent your target audience and you’re looking to announce a new product, then a presentation makes perfect sense. But if you’re only targeting a tiny portion of the attendee population, then a formal presentation might be overkill.

Make Your Message Clear

Attendees walking the show floor are looking for products and services that will help them cut costs, increase efficiency, and avoid hassles, and the most effective presentations demonstrate how a company or its offerings will do just that. So focus your presentation on the benefits of your product that will help attendees achieve those things, and your message is far more likely to resonate with the audience.

If you’re expecting new AND repeat customers, don’t limit yourself to one presentation. You can have a generic one to introduce your products and a specific presentation one to address specific problems. You know the rule of any presentation – Keep It Simple, Stupid. A presentation should last no more than seven minutes, and attendees should be informed how long it will run when they are seated.

Get it Presented Right

Not all of us are great at presentations. Sure, scripts and lots of practice help but sometimes time just isn’t enough and you might need to delegate this task to someone capable. That person might be one of your staffers, a product specialist, a current customer, a business partner, or a professional presenter.  It is important he or she understands the scope of the assignment and is willing to rehearse and really know the script even before landing at the event host city.  A pre-show rehearsal in the exhibit using all audiovisual and presentation tools can be done during set up. This on-site test run is a chance for your presenter to polish his or her performance, get used to the microphone, deal with any AV problems, and work out any jitters.

Be Seen
Your presentation area should be highly visible from the aisle and inviting enough to draw in droves of attendees. Use a high-quality display and sound system so everything looks and sounds professional and so that attendees can see and hear clearly from a distance. Remember that the industry standard for the maximum decibel level when measured from the center of the aisle in front of your presentation space is 85 to 90 decibels. Exceeding this sound level will annoy other exhibitors, and it won’t endear you to show management, since it will be fielding complaints from your neighbors.

Timing is Everything
When and how frequently should you hold your presentations? People usually start trickling in about 30mins once the doors open so you could time your first presentation to be about one hour after the doors open. Also, your neighbours are your best friends when it comes to expos. It generally works out well if neighboring exhibitors agree on which booth will present on the hour and half hour, with any others presenting on the quarter and three-quarters hour. You can even announce to the audience that “Our neighbor is getting ready to start a presentation on Topic X in just a few minutes” to cooperatively drive traffic between your exhibits.

Spread the Word
Don’t just rely on the conference organizer to promote your booth. Before the show, mail or email invitations to prospective attendees. Advertise your presentation schedule on your company’s website, and if you plan on distributing gifts to thank attendees for coming to your presentation, promote those as well.

Inform booth visitors when your next presentation will begin by using a programmable display or clock that boldly shows presentation start times. You can also post announcements on Twitter so those following you at the show can plan to attend the presentations that appeal to them.

Measure Your Results
All of your planning can be for naught if you don’t have a surefire method to collect, manage, measure, and evaluate information from presentation participants. To capture demographic information, use either an electronic badge reader or manual lead forms on clipboards with pens. Make sure that you have sufficient booth staffers available to monitor the audience’s buying signals during the presentation (having participants raise their hand in response to questions during the presentation is a great way to help staffers identify interested attendees) and to speak with prospects after each presentation is over. Having your presenter point attendees to staffers standing on the perimeter of the presentation area or toward demo stations within your booth can also help direct interested prospects to further conversations with your team.

Finally, don’t forget to thank the booth visitors who took time out of their busy trade show schedules to attend your presentation. Whether it’s just a sincere “Thank you” or a gift that’s appropriate to your target audience, letting attendees know they’re appreciated is the perfect finale to any in-booth presentation.

Source: Adapted from Candy Adams’s article writing for ExhibitorOnline