Running a stand at a trade show or exhibition is hard work and often exhausting. But all over the world, this is how commerce has to be conducted by many business sectors, so do make the best of it! Jeremy Thorn has managed exhibition-stands all over the world and offers some helpful tips.
There are probably not many people who actually ‘enjoy’ running an exhibition stand, at least not after the first half-day or so! Whether your event is a large, professionally-organised show, or just a local table-top exhibition at a village gala, you need to stay bright and alert for long hours. It is also usually thought to be quite helpful if you can be reasonably pleasant to everyone you meet for the whole duration – and when you get back to the office, there will be all that painstaking follow-up to do. (Well, there should be, anyway. See Tip 10.)
Assuming you have done all your preparation and advance planning, here are some ideas to help make your investment in trade shows and exhibitions more productive, more profitable, and even more rewarding.
1. Never go alone!
You will probably already know very well that running a stand is a full-time job while an exhibition is on, and it should never be left unattended. Every 5 minutes that your stand is unattended, your investment in the event will not be making you money. But you must get some breaks in, over what will probably be a long day or more.
So even if you are a sole-trader, take a partner with you, a family member, a pal or even a student from the local college looking for some work experience. (I especially recommend foreign-language students and
people who can actually speak a few foreign languages, particularly if you don’t.) But check them out first for their ability to engage warmly with strangers, and make sure they read this article first and know your product range!