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Nail it! Developing a successful trade show presentationHeather

Nail it! Developing a successful trade show presentationAs you know, a great way to become a credible source in your industry and create buzz about your service or product is by volunteering or applying to make a presention at a trade show or conference. Here are some tips to make your debut or next presentation a success.Segment your audience
According to Melcrum, in a global organization focused on internal communicators, it’s rare that an audience can be effectively reached through a single message. “Communicators need to become more effective at targeting communications and sifting out the ‘need to know’ from the ‘nice to know,’ or even the ‘actually this is not relevant to you at all.’” (1) To do this, we suggest asking yourself:

  • Has my audience ever used my product or service? If so, how often?
  • How much does my audience know about my product or service?
  • What are their general behaviors, and how would these norms affect their reaction to my product or service?
  • Who are the ideas leaders that my audience trusts?
  • How would I describe my audience in terms of age, gender and background?

These questions lead to segmentation or defining groups that have similar and specific needs, such as “Soccer Moms,” and tailoring communication messages to appeal to each segment. While it may be challenging to know who will be in attendance for your trade show presentation, the more you can segment your audience, the greater impact you will have.

Tailor your message
Once you’ve analyzed your audience, define the objectives of your presentation:

  • Generate sales—highlight the features of the product or service most important to your audience.
  • Gain exposure—your presentation needs to be memorable.
  • Procure investments—emphasize recent successes as well as forecasted benefits.

The average adult has an attention span of less than 10 minutes(2)—which means you’re competing with every distraction in the room. Keep all eyes on you by:

  • Exuding confidence—now your environment, your subject matter and your audience to keep your nerves at bay.
  • Streamlining—keep facts concise, interesting and, above all, relevant.
  • Breaking it up—allow for questions and pauses, but don’t stray too far.
  • Knowing your limits—don’t try to be David Letterman if humour isn’t your gig.

Effectively use your tools
You’ve got great materials and a good handle on your audience and your message. The last step is to assure your visuals are equally impressive. It might be a good idea to:

  • Display a focal point—such as a slide show or online presentation.
  • Be creative—use new media including YouTube™ videos, podcasts or polls. Offer logo’d MP3 Player Mint Tin as “prizes” for audience participation.
  • Provide hand-outs—try slipping them into a padfolio along with your information so your audience is sure to take it with them following the presentation.
  • Don’t overdo graphics or clip art—keep it clean and simple.
  • Edit—errors damage your credibility.

Follow up
After the presentation, keep your logo and your message accessible. Consider:

  • Passing out USB drivesupload your presentation on this imprinted storage device. You could also create a podcast of your presentation and give the audience earbuds with the web address printed on them.
  • Giving them business card holdersthey are likely to rack up a good-sized collection at the trade show. This assures yours is front-and-center.
  • Sending a thank-you—show your gratitude with a personalized thank-you card.

There are a lot of factors that turn great ideas into spectacular presentations. Considering your audience, message and follow-up tactics will ensure maximum success.

(1) “Mastering audience segmentation.” Malcrum.com. 2006. 30 Dec. 2008 <www.melcrum.com/offer/mas/07A/Exec%20Summary%20MAS07.pdf >.

(2)”Tips for a Great Presentation.” CBORD. 2008. 18 Dec. 2008 <https://www.cbord.com/ugz/ugc/ugc2008/presenters_FAQ.asp>.


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