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Weekly Email Series

For over 35 years, I have exhibited at hundreds of consumer trade shows and other events. Moreover, in the past decade, I have launched and expanded my own events whilst continuing to exhibit in my events along with others. This email series is my means of giving back what I have acquired through observation, firsthand experience, trial and error, and interviews with industry sources and hundreds of exhibitors.  —Frank


A word you will see in every email in this series is engagement. I can't stress enough how important it is for exhibitors to get focused and stay focused on engagement. Even if you think you're doing a bang up job on this front, I guarantee you there's room for improvement.

The purpose of a consumer trade show is to play matchmaker between attendees and exhibitors. During the event it is up to each exhibitor to engage with attendees and quickly determine if they are a good match for their product or service.

All too often the exhibiting company's booth staff is not focused on this prime objective and they allow business opportunities to literally walk right past them. Due to this performance error, an exhibitor may decide to stop doing a show or stop doing shows altogether which leads to an avalanche of lost opportunity.

What causes missed engagement opportunities?

Here's a quick list of ways that exhibitors often misfire on engagement. I will periodically renew this list as exhibitors continue to provide me new examples.

  • Overstaffing or understaffing  the booth
  • Not training the booth staff on products, processes and engagement techniques
  • Placing staff in the booth that don't want to be there
  • Booking too small a space and overloading it with displays or staff
  • Being too pushy or aggressive with your approach
  • Not creating and/or executing an engagement plan
  • Not smiling and making eye contact with attendees
  • Not asking open ended questions designed to initiate conversation
  • Taking breaks (eating, talking on phone) in the booth
  • Taking breaks out of the booth leaving it unmanned
  • Coming in late, leaving early (missing show hours)
  • Forcing attendees to stand in the aisle and talk over a table
  • Not having clear objectives, goals, desired outcomes
  • Booking late in a cycle limiting location choices
  • Not paying attention to what competitors are doing
  • Not learning what worked and what didn't during and immediately after a show and then refining plans for the next event
  • Not dressing appropriately
  • Not attending to personal hygiene
  • Creating distractions that work against you (pets, kids, other random people in the booth.

How to correct these errors will be covered in greater detail in future weekly emails
Questions or Comments about Engagement