Be sincere, be brief, be seated.  ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Trade show attendees are a fickle and busy bunch. If you’re an exhibitor, you only have a few seconds to attract people out of the aisles and into your booth. If you lose that moment, you may not get a second chance. There are many attention-grabbing ways to add sizzle, activity and interaction to your exhibit. One way is to create an in-booth presentation and deliver it regularly throughout the day. In another article, we discussed why. In short, an in-booth presentation is a great tactic to start the sales cycle on the trade show floor by educating and entertaining a captive audience and then capitalizing on the lead qualifying opportunities. If you decide to deliver the company message to the masses, here are ten tips to ensure your pitch hits just the right notes.

1. Have something to say and make it meaningful

  • The pitch should be personal and relevant to your audience. Are you unveiling a new product or service? Are there improvements or additions to existing ones? Is your product or service unique in the marketplace? Whatever it is you wish to convey, content is everything.
  • Support your presentation with visuals. Whether it’s PowerPoint or something new and snazzy like Prezi, presentations are more powerful when supported visually. Remember, you don’t have to stick to common and boring templates. Shake it up a little by adding video, testimonials, lots of color and unique fonts.
  • Don’t clutter slides with too many words. It’s distracting and people will suffer from memory overload. Stay with three or four salient points per slide.
  • Talk about benefits, not just features. Listening to a litany of features without tying them to customer benefits will make the listener’s eyes glaze over. Don’t assume your prospects will put two and two together. Tell them why a feature is important in making their lives better. Create AHA moments that will be visitors will remember.
  • Make it interactive. For instance, the presenter could ask the audience a question, or ask for a show of hands. You could also incorporate into the latest audience response systems available in the marketplace. This makes the listener take notice, and keeps them interested and engaged.
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse – and then rehearse some more. There is no substitute for being prepared. None.

2. Choose the right speaker to pitch it!

Not everyone in your organization has the speaking skills or the desire to present up to 10 times daily. The right speaker is as important as the presentation itself. Choose someone with public speaking chops – friendly, believable, credible, and who wants to do it. This is not an easy task, which is why we often suggest a professional trade show presenter, whose sole purpose is to deliver the pitch and take the burden off of your own staff.

TPG Presenters Larry & Robin take the stage.

TPG Presenters Larry & Robin take the stage.

3. Keep it short

An in-booth presentation should not exceed seven minutes. A trade show presentation isn’t a seminar or workshop. People have too much to see and too little time. The goal of your presentation is to pique the interest of the audience so that they’ll stay for deeper conversations with your expert booth staff. If you don’t want a distracted, fidgety audience – keep it short!

4. Mic the presenter

This is important even in a small booth. Trade shows are bustling and loud. If your audience has to strain to hear the speaker they’ll lose interest. As an added benefit, an amplified voice creates interest for those walking by.

5. Provide seating

After spending hours on their feet, attendees will clamor for the chance to sit and relax! A relaxed listener is receptive to the message. I’ve seen exhibitors position their presenter on a corner of the booth facing the aisle, hoping attendees will stop and listen. Our experience is that this is ineffective. Most people walk by, leaving the presenter talking to the air. When featuring an in-booth presentation build your booth design around it to create an open and welcoming environment.

6. Create a presentation schedule

However often your exhibit team decides to deliver the presentation, make a schedule for your staff and stick to it. We’ve found that even if traffic is slow, say it and they will come. Display the presentation times on a plasma screen that is easily seen, or an old-school show clock. You may want to advertise your presentation in a pre-show mailer or email.

Presentation clock.

Presentation clock.

7. Offer giveaways

Reward your audience and show gratitude for their time with a giveaway! Whether you decide to give something away to every audience member or draw for gifts at the end of the presentation, make your gift branded, useful and memorable.

T-Shirt winner gave his gift to his son at Fire-Rescue International.

A T-Shirt winner gave his gift to his son at Fire-Rescue International.

8. Hire Crowd Gatherers

Often overlooked when planning exhibit staffing is contracting trade show professionals to be responsible for gathering the audience for the presentation. The aptly named crowd gatherer will approach and engage people in the aisles, tell them about the presentation, escort them to the seats, assist with the giveaways, and scan badges. Once you hire a crowd gatherer you will not want to exhibit when using a presentation without one.

TPG Crowd Gatherers/Brand Ambassadors

TPG Crowd Gatherers/Brand Ambassadors

9. Use Social Media

Promote your pitch by tweeting and posting your booth number and presentation times, and make sure to use the show hashtag. You can even create a contest by giving a gift to those who saw the tweet or post and mention it when they arrive in your booth.

10. Train your exhibit team to be ready for follow up opportunities

Here’s the payoff! After the presentation you have a booth filled with prospects. This is the perfect opportunity to start conversations, capture leads and turn prospects into customers.

Huge crowds for a product launch presentation at AACC.

Huge crowds for a product launch presentation at AACC.

In conclusion, according to TPG Operations Manager, Mary Kemmer CTSM,

“a 20 X 20 booth is the minimum preferred footprint for an in-booth presentation, in order to give you enough gathering space for your audience as well as good distance between them and your sound system”.

Whether your booth is large or small, an in-booth presentation can be the single most effective method to increase ROI and brand awareness. Craft the perfect pitch and you’ll hit just the right notes.

C.C. Carr – TPG Onsite Director