Communication at Exhibitions and Trade Shows

Making the most of trade shows for your business

Do you spend time and money on trade shows or exhibitions but wonder if it is worth the investment? Are you uncertain whether the team representing your business have the confidence and skills to engage in meaningful conversations at the event?

communication skills at exhibitions

Trade shows and exhibitions are an important part of many businesses’ marketing strategies, especially as they are reported as being second only to executive seminars at getting face-to-face numbers with prospects/customers. They offer the chance to get in front of an audience who, depending on the nature of the event, may well already be working in your target sector or sectors. To some degree, they have been pre-screened, because they’ve signed up to attend – they may even have paid for their ticket.

At the same time, trade shows and exhibitions are an investment for a business – not just the cost of the pitch, but the cost of sending a number of the team along to run the stand and engage with potential customers.

So as a business owner you want to make sure you maximise the return, that your team come back with strong leads and even some follow-up meetings already arranged.

However, nerves and a general lack of know-how or a plan can get in the way, so that the team representing your company may fail to capitalise on the opportunity.

Here are Open Dawes Training, where we offer CPD accredited public speaking and presentation training, we’ve trained teams in making the most of trade shows and maximising the ROI. The key is successful communication and, as with any verbal engagement, there are some techniques for your team to follow.

Top tips for communicating at a trade show

  • The easiest way to start conversations is with questions - this is not only easier for you but avoids you delivering a 'salesy' monologue and engages people and gets them talking.
  • Make that question establish the best direction of the conversation, and ensure it is engaging and chatty – a simple ‘How are you?’ isn’t a strong enough opener.
  • Act and talk with confidence, but be casual not pushy.
  • If possible, schedule follow up conversations on the spot.
  • Ensure they have all of the information they need.
  • Ensure their contact details are captured.

Almost as important is knowing how to politely close down a conversation that isn’t going anywhere. How many times have you seen an episode of The Apprentice, where the candidates are trying to sell anything from hot tubs to gym equipment, and they waste time chatting to people who are never going to buy, and all the while opportunities are being missed!

We recently worked with an insurance company based in Kent, whose owner specifically wanted communication training for teams who were running trade shows, and also hosting and presenting break-out sessions.

The feedback showed how much more productive trade shows now are, thanks to the training and the techniques we have given the teams.

Our latest Facebook Live was "Maximising Attendance At Conferences Through Communication", and you watch it back right here:


If you’d like to talk about training for your teams, to help them make the most of the opportunities at exhibitions and trade shows, then please get in touch. Our training is available for groups or for individuals, either in-house or at our head office training centre in Swindon.

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