If you have to deliver presentations at trade shows, there are a few things you can do that will assist you in doing a better job. These tips will help you get "positively" notified by your company and by others looking to hire someone with your expertise – who can also speak well. As a trade show magician, I have observed hundreds of employee trade show presenters and most fail miserably. One usually witnesses empty seats in theater areas, an ineffective communication of the message, and bored attendees, not to mention almost non-existent follow-up interest by attendees who heard the presentation.
Here are a few tips to help you do a better job and stand out as a skilled communicator:
1) Be Prepared – Write out what you are going to say and remember that trade show presentations should be no longer than 10 minutes. If you can not tell attendees what you offer in less than 10 minutes then you need to cut, cut, cut.
2) Call to Action – At the end of your presentation, make sure to include a "call to action," which is stating that you would be willing to further discuss what you attendees where you are in the booth. This is more effective than asking if anyone has questions. Get those with questions over to your demo station where you can provide more detailed information.
3) Rehearse – So many employee presenters "wing it," and it shows – it embarrassingly shows. Rehearse your script with your power point and do the whole thing including the call to action. Make sure that everything moves smoothly and run through it, until you're sick of doing it.
4) Show Day – On the day of the show, get to the booth early. Get familiar with the microphone and do a microphone check. Run through your presentation again – complete with the power point – and imagine the seats filled with people. (Then do it again imagining the seats only semi-filled.) This is called "owning the room," and it gives you self-confidence and allows you to command the stage – which is what you want.
5) Check out Your Surroundings – What is going on in the other booths near you? Does the exhibit across from you have a trade show magician in it? Does another have a professional trade show presenter or other attraction? Be aware of your competition, because professional trade show presenters are trying to attract the same attendees you are with one major exception – they are getting paid to attract a crowd and there before have more incentive to out draw you.
6) Show Time – Due to your following the previous steps, when it's your time to "hit the stage," you will deliver a well-thought out presentation with confidence and clarity. What is happening around you or how many seats are filled will not affect you and, due to your call to action, you will have a chance later to meet with attendees who are really interested in what you had to say.
7) Video Your Presentation – Watch it and see where you can make improvements. Also, when you have enough video, edit your work into a short 5 minute demo. Why? You never know when this "video calling card" may come in handy – should you look for another job. Doubt that comment? Please read Tip 8.
8) Bonus Time – According to a 2010 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the number one skill employees consider critical for employment is effective communication skills. As someone who knows how to effectively communicate a message to a large amount of people, you will be notified by your peers and executives from your company in a positive way. Additionally, other companies who regularly exhibit at industry shows and "power people" are always looking for those who know how to speak well. Therefore, the ability to do so to large groups is a skill worth cultivating.
I can not tell you how many times I have been offered a job to be a sales rep, due to my ability to speak to large groups. Can you imagine what could happen to you, should you combine your expertise in your field with effective communicative skills?