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Some of the most interesting and useful times at conferences and seminars are during the breaks. Delegates have sat through a couple of hours of speakers presenting and what may feel like a couple of years’ worth of PowerPoints and now they can stretch their legs and begin conversing again. It is at refreshment breaks and lunchtimes that much of the business gets done, that contacts are made and plans hatched. So, when you are staffing a display stand, what sort of things should you do to attract attention, to get those conversations started, to make a good impression and stand out from the crowd? Think back to what has caught your eye at events you’ve attended? What clever ideas and interactive displays have got you engaged? Have your conversations in the exhibition hall ever led to long lasting business relationships?

Here at Touch Design we’ve sponsored various events and hosted displays at several others. As is the nature of these types of events, some have proved more successful than others, and we have learned more about best practice as we have gone along. We thought it would be useful to provide a set of hints and tips about how to get the most out of hosting displays to maximize engagement levels with delegates. If you don’t like these tips, do something else, if you do, please come and tell us at the next event we’re at.

An essential requirement as an exhibitor, and one that hardly needs saying, although having seen a few other display stands recently it might be worth a reminder, is to invest in a good quality display with high production values for an exhibition stand/banner stands and print. Many people, probably quite rightly, judge a book by the cover, so make sure your brand or ‘book cover’ sends out a positive first impression. Beyond that, here is our top 10 list of display tips and ideas:

  • Banner stands are great – easily portable, easy to put up and they quickly convey key business messages – but have you tried anything different? How about an unusual-shaped banner such as a sail or flags?
  • Go interactive – make your stand come alive with a screen to show your work and live tweets - #nice
  • Provide insights into your work with a wham-bam five-minute seminar – set out two lines of four chairs – you will find people will sit!
  • Set up games and maybe provide a prize. Just make sure the game is linked into your work and that it is ‘on brand’
  • Host a competition about your business – you could always offer one of your services as a prize
  • Share your knowledge – have a designed pdf/infographic which you can tweet about beforehand and place on a branded USB at the event as a handout/giveaway
  • Consider some pre-publicity – don’t leave it all to the day. Start the conversations on social media ahead of the event. You could tweet about a special offer available for delegates on the day
  • Be genuinely useful – help delegates with customer services tweets – these might provide practical information such as the wi-fi code, day’s  agenda, toilets, and how to get to the venue. Provide a workspace for attendees – plugs, chargers, wi-fi, coffee, or just a place to escape!
  • Use an iPad to get people’s sign-up details – it’s instant and the details are captured for your follow-up post-event
  • Give them something memorable/useful to take away – and brand it wherever possible. Everyone loves a freebie!

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