What Makes A Good (Or Bad) Expo?

Written by Ian Preston
30th March 2018

I attended an exhibition recently, not a small ‘provincial’ one but a decent size one at the NEC.
I was appalled not only the quality of some of the stands but in particular the behaviour of a lot of the stand personnel. Having attended, and done ‘stand duty’ at many expos over the years maybe I have a sharper sense of what is right and wrong than most.

So I thought I would share my ‘Guide to Making Expos Work For You’ to help you get an even better exhibition experience next time.

  1. What is your objective? Why are you there? You will undoubtedly have spent time and money being there. How will you be able to judge whether it’s been a success or not?
  2. Does your stand grab people’s attention? Is it easy on the eye and welcoming?Does it just tell people what you do or more importantly does it tell people what you do for them?
  3. If it’s a multi-person stand have you briefed the others? Particularly around the objectives, who you are looking to connect with, roster/break times, the exhibitors manual and dos and don’ts (see below) etc.
    Remember TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More
  4. Know how to work a one man stand. If you are on a stand all day alone make friends with your neighbours – they’ll mind the stand whilst you take a break.
  5. Have you got the right people on the stand? Are the friendly and welcoming? Are they good communicators? Can they ask questions and listen or are they just blurting out the same old spiel? Have you got a good mix of people in terms of knowledge and experience on the stand?
  6. Do you have a system for gathering ‘good data’? Do you have ‘lead magnets’? Have you allowed time in your post-show schedule to follow everything up? Do you have a system? If not you could be letting money leak away.
  7. Always do a post-show debrief ASAP after the show ends. WWW (What Went Well) and EBI (Even Better If). This will help you be even better next time.
  8. Dress appropriately. It will probably be a long day, mostly on your feet so comfy shoes are a must. Particularly the ladies. Those ‘killer heels’ will I am sure look great but can you manage 10 hours in them? Does your business have a ‘corporate image’? Are their guidelines as to what to wear, i.e. suit, tie, branded polo shirts etc. Make sure everyone knows beforehand.
  9. Be there in plenty of time. This gets the day off to a stress free start. Having set up your own area you can then look around the expo beforehand and understand how it all works and who is where. You may even have time to ask the organiser if he needs any help. Always a good use of your time.


Good Stuff on the Stand!

  • Be on the edge of your stand. Helps with communication.
  • Look keen and interested.
  • Use social media and LinkedIn, before during & after.
  • Be able to explain quickly and succinctly what you are all about and how you may be able to help them. This may well be an ‘elevator pitch’ which you should know already


Not So Good Stuff on the Stand!

  • Staff on mobile phones and computers.
  • Sitting down (unless it’s a large stand with seats and you are talking to a visitor)
  • Eating and drinking.
  • Never neglect a visitor. It’s easy sometimes to be judgemental


There you go …. A few tips that I hope you find these useful and of interest. They could just save you a lot of pain, heartache and money.
Applying these tips in the right way will help you have a much better expo experience including getting better returns, having more fun along the way and having a far more successful show all round.


IJP Consultancy Ltd


Want to know more? This is only scratching the surface.
Would you like me to review your exhibition content and help you make it the best it can be?
Would you like me to brief/train your staff so they are the best they can be?
If so please ring me, Ian Preston now on 07504 056368, or email me at info@ijpconsultancy.co.uk

I look forward to hearing from you.

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About Ian Preston

Ian is a leading Business Coach & Trainer and Keynote Speaker.

With over 25 years’ experience in sales, training and coaching, Ian’s passion is helping business owners discover better ways to do business. He is passionate about coaching individuals and companies to be better, whether it’s about using LinkedIn to generate more opportunities & sales, working in education to improve governing bodies or providing coaching to deliver stunning sales performance.

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