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To Exhibit or not to Exhibit...... that is the question!

Posted on 10 February 2013
To Exhibit or not to Exhibit...... that is the question!

To Exhibit or not to Exhibit…… That is often the question!

I love to meet people, I love to talk to people and I love to help people! Now this has been on my mind for a little while and today I really have to share it!

Why do you exhibit – well…. Only you can answer that one!

Why do we exhibit – to tell people who we are and what we are able to help people with, whether that be families looking for childcare services or people looking for childcare related work or even local businesses who might see opportunity to work together.

Where do we exhibit – we have been known to attend various BabyShows throughout the North East of England (to tell parents how we can help with their childcare), we have been known to attend a few Wedding Fairs (to tell people about our Wedding Day Childcare Services) and we have been known to attend some of the local Jobs Fairs in the area (to seek out people with childcare skills and qualifications who may be looking for work).

I do know and appreciate how much hard work, effort and money goes into preparing for one of these events.  I also appreciate that some events are costly and this is why we as a small company have to be very selective in where we choose to attend.

The event organiser has in my opinion the most difficult job – keeping everyone happy! Finding the right venue; assessing the costs; finding the right exhibitors; drawing up the paperwork; liaising with all the exhibitors and the venue; promoting the event in as many ways as possible to get people to come along and that is just for starters!

From an Exhibitor point of view, we are agreeing to commit to attend the event to showcase what we have to offer, we take time out of our busy schedules to go along, we liaise with the organiser, we plan what information to take along, we prepare our table or stand to make it appealing for visitors and we should also be responsible for promoting the event and sharing with as many people as possible telling people what is on and where we are going to be. In my opinion we have made an agreement to help make this event work – we want people to come along, we want people to know about us, we want the event to be a success, otherwise we have we agreed to do it?

And so to the day itself…..  We know we have put time aside for this event – we know what time it starts and what time it finishes. We have made our area look fantastic and we are ready for our visitors.

And here it is….. The thing I get really annoyed about……  Why after all of this hard work and planning do exhibitors leave early?

I do understand people have given up their day. I also understand that sometimes an event is quieter than expected. I also appreciate that there are 101 other things people could be doing – but we have agreed to put this day aside and I think it is just rude and inconsiderate when someone decides to pack up before they are meant to! 

Because…. what then follows is someone else then decides 'well if they are going…. So am I'. And then someone else follows… and then as visitors do come in, they see empty spaces and then as more empty spaces appear, this then makes the whole event (which you committed to) look like a sham. Every visitor – whether they are first in or last in could be your most important contact! Only yesterday I heard about someone who had travelled 2 hours to attend a jobs fair to specifically speak to someone about a job and that company did not even turn up!

Some events are great, with a steady flow of visitors, lots of lively chatter going on and then others not so great.  I have done 2 events recently which have not been so great with limited visitors coming along and I do understand this is disheartening for everyone – however we should bear in mind that the same amount of work has been put into this and we can only plan and prepare so much. We can tell people what is on and when and why they should come along but we cannot make people come along.

So just a little thought before you agree to exhibit….

What do you want to get from it – if you expect to make lots of money just from you being in attendance and selling goods or services – then this unlikely to happen! People go to an event to have a look around – they may not need you right away, but they will remember someone who had made an effort to be cheerful, say hello, look interested and take time for people. See each exhibition as a chance for you to tell people what you do and why they should come to you.

Use this as an opportunity to network with other exhibitors – they might know someone who needs your services. There may be an opportunity for you to work together or help each other. People remember people for being helpful.

For me as well as the two points above, I see this as an opportunity to get out my purple table cloth, put on my purple shirt, pull up my banner and make people aware of who we are and what we can offer.

And remember it is not just the responsibility of the Event Organiser to get people to come along – your name has been associated with attending this event – so take some responsibility and help with encouraging people to come along. You don’t want to be remembered as the Company who could not be bothered! (don't worry I am not going to be naming names!)

Sharing is caring! Thank you for reading. x

3 comments

Angela Dawson Commented on 10 Feb 2013

Totally agree Sarah. I think it's also damaging to the organiser's brand as it looks like they can't organise an event properly.

Louise Turnbull Commented on 12 Feb 2013

Hear hear. Even if its not your target market attending there'smore chance of making a useful connection staying put than if you slink off home.

Belinda Whie Commented on 12 Feb 2013

Well presented article, I totally agree, time and effort involved for everyone is huge and includes commitment from everyone.

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Sarah Parkin runs Kids Deserve the Best Nanny Agency, providing support to families with their childcare requirements including wedding day childcare, babysitting and emergency childcare. Area of coverage includes the following regions across the North East of England, Gosforth, Great Park, Jesmond, Heaton, Killingworth, Shiremoor, Longbenton, Holystone, Forest Hall, Morpeth, Cramlington, Ashington, Blyth, Ponteland, Kingston Park, Westerhope, Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, Monkseaton, Wallsend, South Shields, Tynedale, Hexham, Prudhoe, Stocksfield, Corbridge, Consett, Rowlands Gill, Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, Washington, Sunderland, Durham, Wearside, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland.