The Engaging Leader Diary – Engaging Exhibitor or Exhibition Lemon?
Have you ever manned an exhibition stand and felt a bit of a lemon? Completely out of your comfort zone?
Last week, having at short notice been kindly offered the opportunity to share a space on an exhibition stand and dip our toe into exhibitions at The Best You at Olympia I found myself hitting a real low spot at about 3pm Saturday while manning the stand on my own. One colleague had left and another was in a talk. I reflected on my conundrum as the more introverted part of me gradually came forth and squirmed with discomfort while my confidence slowly ebbed away. My key take outs:
1. When you have a stand at an exhibition make sure the audience is your audience. Check them out carefully in advance before booking. Our clients are generally
leaders of SME’s not people looking for a career move or to get into coaching. In our instance, not even a paid spotter to bring people to your stand will
have an impact. She brought two people to us despite working really hard.
2. Have a really engaging attraction on your stand to draw people in. For example offering an engaging talk or a free coaching session every 30 minutes.
3. Book a speech at the conference and ensure you deliver a great one as that brings people to your stand.
4. Check out your stand location in advance so it is not tucked away in a backwater from the crowds.
So was it a disaster? No. In fact the lessons learned were invaluable for the next time we exhibit and a low risk as we were not with our core audience. We also gained a few very interesting leads and opportunities. Plus the speaker I had been coaching for her speaker slot at the event made me more than proud. Sarah J Naylor you were brilliant. The advice I had received from John Blaskey of the Exhibiting Agency had also been first class and put us much closer to being on the front foot. The next time we exhibit will now be ready, we know what to do and I am sure I won’t be left feeling like a lemon! I won’t be manning the stand on my own for a start :).
Chris Cooper is an engagement specialist, coach and speaker. He is host of the Business Elevation Show on Voice America and Co-Author of The Power To Get Things Done (Whether You Feel Like It Or Not). www.chriscooper.co.uk