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5 Keys To A Killer Tradeshow Presentation

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I recently spent three days at a very unique tradeshow. The event was full of training companies showing you the latest and greatest training and development products and software. This is also the big chance they have each year to show you how professional, dynamic, and amazing the trainers themselves are.

In my 20+ years as a contract and full-time presenter, I don’t think I’ve ever been less impressed with what I saw. Trainers on a stage doing “death by PowerPoint,” nervous stuttering and an unengaged audience.

It never ceases to amaze me how organizations completely drop the ball when it comes to creating an engaging and memorable booth presentation; one which compels the attendees to say, “Wow. These guys are incredible! Where can I get more info?”

So take a look at the five suggestions I’ve listed below and use them to make sure your next booth presentation is the one at the show everyone is talking about.


1) Pick the right person

Making a lasting impression with your booth presentation is all about having the right person deliver your message. We’ve all seen presenters who plant themselves behind the computer stand, never look up, point to the projector screen every now and then, adjust their headset mic, etc.

Please realize the guy who developed your product isn’t always the best one to talk about it. It goes without saying you need an outgoing person who isn’t afraid of public speaking.


2) When in doubt, hire a pro

If you’re having trouble finding the right person to be your presenter, you can always hire a professional. But be careful. Most pros use an ear prompt where they simply repeat the script they’ve previously recorded and are hearing through their earpiece. Some presenters who do this are good, but there simply is no way to interact with the audience using this approach. The crowd sees right through it.

Presenters who have your script memorized are hard to find, but they are well worth the effort to track down and hire.


3) Use a script

I see it at every tradeshow: the marketing guy who’s been with the company for years and thinks, “Are you kidding? A script for me? I talk about this stuff every day. I’ll be fine just winging it.”

Not on a stage, my friend. You might be great with one-on-one’s, but you’ll see how disjointed and awkward you come off in front of a group trying to wing it. Plus, you’re doing your product a great disservice. Trust me: use a script.


4) Memorize your script

You heard me. Do whatever you have to do and take as much time as necessary to have the script down cold. I recommend starting the memorizing process one to two weeks before the first day of the show. Drill yourself. Take it seriously.

My first tradeshow was a 20-minute memorized script I had to give to the company executives the afternoon before the first day of the show. If I didn’t pass, they would fly me home the next day. (Luckily that didn’t happen). Work hard and memorize up front so you can relax on stage later. You’ll rock the house if you put in the effort.


5) Have a freebie

Nothing beats a goofy, quirky, unique give-a-way item at your booth that is somehow tied to your message and branding. Companies sometimes use the same give-a-way for years and it’s amazing to see the reach and impact it can have. Attendees love them, kids love them, even dogs love them.

Throw your give-a-ways out during your presentation and you’re sure to have some fun as well as attract others to your booth.

Jeff Birk
Jeff is a stand-up comedian and has opened for Jay Leno, Bill Cosby, Martin Short, Kevin James and Wanda Sykes among others. He also has 25+ years working as a keynote speaker and trainer for companies such as Pepsi, Bose, Pier 1 Imports, Bayer, Honda, Footlocker, Virgin Trains, Hugo Boss, Golden Nugget Casinos, Choice Hotels International and GE Healthcare.
Jeff Birk
Jeff Birk

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