Being asked to plan and manage an event can feel daunting, but it’s actually very simple – the key is to be organised and to realise that the devil is in the detail.
While managing an enormous trade show undoubtedly requires more advanced skills, if you are coordinating your company’s attendance at a business expo, the tips below will stand you in good stead.
Always begin with a list
Start by noting down everything you need to do, order for or take to your event and assign a deadline to it. Hotel rooms, parking requirements, restaurant bookings, electricity booking and stand layouts… there will be plenty to do, so make sure you can tick everything off in one easy place.
Create a ‘show folder’ that has a copy of all your bookings, itineraries provided by show organisers, any tickets required and so on. This will be your bible!
If there is food, keep a record
If you are eating somewhere that requires a pre-order, make sure you take a copy of this list with you to the event. People will NOT remember, and you’ll be able to step in and remind them gently, avoiding any chaos or delays on the day.
Check well in advance whether your guests have dietary requirements. Ensure that the venue providing food is aware, provide this in writing and ensure that staff working on the day are also briefed.
Create an itinerary
People like to be reassured that everything is taken care of. Create a detailed itinerary to send to all attendees, outlining times that people should be in different places, address and stand details, any parking and accommodation information, and your contact details in case they need anything on the day.
Make sure you have access to written confirmation of everything you have booked or reserved, while you are at the event – this is what your show folder is for! In the madness that is show build-up, sometimes mistakes can be made, and you might find your stand has the wrong colour carpet or your lights have been fitted in the wrong place.
If you have written proof of what you booked to hand, simply seek out the organisers and calmly let them know what has happened – they’ll organise for the error to be corrected and you can carry on with the event.
Have a back-up plan
It’s a fact of life that sometimes things just go wrong. A sick child could mean someone can’t come to the event, traffic might make people late, a technical hitch can mean your presentation doesn’t play on your laptop.
Stay calm and have a plan in place to work around the issue. It’s not the end of the world and most people outside of your business probably won’t even realise.
Keep leads in one place
You might be lucky enough to have an app on a tablet to gather stand visitors’ information, or choose to rent one of the barcode scanning devices that many events now offer exhibitors. If this isn’t an option for you, simply take along a small notebook, stapler (with spare staples) and a pen. You can attach business cards of people you speak with and include notes about what they were interested in or specific things you need to follow up on.
Do be aware that if you are attending an event outside of the UK, cultures such as the Chinese find this very disrespectful and there is a set protocol for how to behave when someone hands you a business card. Do your research and check with your local DIT advisor for reassurance.
Keep your stand tidy
One of the quickest ways to put people off visiting your stand is for it to be a mess. With people arriving and dropping off bags and coats, literature being left around and perhaps snack wrappers or empty cups, it can quickly become untidy. Ensure you have some storage to hide away bags and spare literature, keep a bin on the stand for any rubbish and regularly check the stand – popping leaflets and so on away tidily as required.
Baby or antibacterial wipes keep surfaces clean and smudge-free, and can be used on pop-up, modular and banner stands too!
Need a helping hand? Throw us a bone on 01325 486666 or see www.harveyandhugo.com.