Getting everything right when you’re exhibiting isn’t easy. With so many things to think about, it’s no surprise that people often forget about the important stuff. However, when your turn comes to run an exhibition programme, there are some things you need to avoid at all costs. The general rules include not making people wait around, ensuring they are well fed and watered, and everything runs smoothly. If you think about some of the worst events you have ever been to, some of the following issues were probably their main downfall. Here are eight easily avoidable pitfalls that are certain to annoy your exhibition attendees:
This tends to make people’s blood boil. It’s true that at most events, there will be some selling involved, but it’s the approach that counts. People who attend events will expect to be sold to, but they will be much more receptive if you don’t overdo it. Being pushy can literally push people away, and they will leave your event feeling bitter and frustrated. When it comes to sales and advertising at events, it’s important to get the balance right. We’ve gone over some tips for providing exceptional customer service here.
2. Lack of food and drink
It’s the same sort of thought process that you would go through when planning a wedding. Make sure people are well fed and watered, and they will probably be happy and enjoy the day. Don’t leave people parched and in desperate need of a snack to get them through the event. Provide plenty of refreshments and think carefully about your food choices, if you want to provide a vegetarian option or maybe halal meat (if you do, consider advertising it as halal meat just to be on the safe side). No one will pay attention to your event if everyone is hungry and all they can think about is food!
Something to note: Make sure you check with your exhibition or event organiser if you plan on providing food. Some foods require certificates and food safety standards to be served to the public – the organiser/venue has the power to stop you serving if you don’t have them.
3. Poor organisation
Not only is attending an event that’s poorly organised extremely frustrating, but it completely ruins your opinion of the company in question. Poorly organised events can have a huge impact on your reputation. If things go forgotten, you find yourself understaffed, nothing is running on time and your event is generally shambles, you won’t make a very good impression. Take the time to plan your event properly so that it runs as smoothly as possible.
4. Waiting around
People notoriously hate waiting around. I know we’re British, and queuing is in our genes… But don’t leave your guests waiting around for ages for something to happen, or they’ll most likely just up and leave. Sitting around waiting for a speaker, or waiting in a queue for ages just to get inside an event leaves a bad taste in your mouth. You can fill your boots on Google with studies about queues and how people react to waiting.
5. Unsuitable venue
If delegates turn up to an event and the venue is clearly unsuitable, they will instantly feel annoyed. Make sure you not only choose a show that’s fit for your purpose, but make sure the venue is too. If you choose to go to an event simply because “everyone else is going” you could all just end up losing money together. Be specific about what shows you attend and that it’s a venue your target market are likely to make the journey to.
6. Technical issues
Sometimes, technical issues are unavoidable. However, you can always have a backup plan. Think about potential technical issues that could occur and how you can get around them. It’s really awkward when a speaker is fiddling around trying to get their presentation to work, or when someone gets on stage and has to shout because their mic doesn’t work. Make an AV contingency plan, actually it’s not bad to make a contingency plan in general… Luckily we have some easy tips for you here.
7. Boring talks
Try not to send your event attendees to sleep with extremely mundane talks and presentations. If people get bored, they will quickly become annoyed and leave early, or simply not pay attention to anything at your event. Get your visitors engaged with you, host a panel session on your stand and invite attendees to ask questions – it’s not difficult to set one up. All you need is some sofas and a microphone (all available from us of course!)
8. Temperature control
There’s nothing worse than turning up to an event and nearly freezing because the air-con is on way too high, or even worse; sweating because the air-con is on its last legs. Make sure you speak to the venue about temperature control before your event, especially if you’re near an access roller door (which can be very chilly if someone leaves it open in the winter). Be aware of the ever-changing seasons as well, Summer can be a tricky season to run an event, we’ve got some more handy tips for this here!
Hopefully, none of this will be rocket science to you event professionals. All in all, just treat all your attendees like living, breathing human beings. Give them an experience, and treat them in a way you would want to experience and be treated if you were attending an event. If you wouldn’t want to be waiting in a long queue, with the air-con on too high, with not a drink to see for miles… Take control and give your attendees an experience to remember.