Exhibitor Manual

Online exhibition guide. S is for …

Your complete Exhibitor Manual and online exhibition guide – from exhibition stand design to event strategy.

Exhibitor Manual Introduction.

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“A mark, a yen, a buck, or a pound … is all that makes the world go around … that clinking clanking sound can make the world go ’round.”

Money in the form of new sales is the primary reason businesses invest in exhibition stand activity.

You can help boost your sales success in a variety of ways including:

  • Setting sights on strategic goals.
  • Building personas of your customers.
  • Assessing the competition.
  • Marketing your presence.
  • Preparing the stand team.
  • Creating an impactful stand.
  • Measuring, analysing, and responding to results.
  • Scanning.

Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) systems – that detect levels of emotional arousal – and facial expression recognition technology, are among the more advanced means of detecting, measuring, and capturing customer interest and data.

More common at exhibitions is the usage of scanners to read a barcode or QR code on badges and tickets.

It’s all very well having the means to capture this data but it’s also essential to ensure you have a clear procedure in place to follow up on your leads after the event.

Search Engines

There are more than 3,500,000,000 searches conducted per day on Google. But you can benefit from a few of those 3.5 billion searches by optimising some of the content of your website around your exhibition stand activity.

From a search engine optimisation (SEO) perspective, depth of content is important. You should, therefore, consider having a section of material about your event attendance, the reasons people should visit your stand, your team etc.

Alternatively or additionally, you could use Paid Search Marketing.


See Furniture.


The smart exhibitor will have some SMART goals to help them to achieve success … ones that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

For example, you may have SMART goals similar to these:

  • I will generate 150 leads for product X, with 50% of them ready to place an order in the next six months.
  • I want to shake hands and make eye contact with 50 prospects that meet our customer target profile on each day of the show.
  • During the show, we will book 20 on-site consultation meetings with target prospects.

Social Media

Google leads us to the simplest definition of social media: “Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.”

And your exhibition stand success can be significantly enhanced through those websites and applications.

For example, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have become strong vehicles for pre-event promotions and they are extremely effective in helping to grow your audience during a show.

Don’t forget to give someone on your stand responsibility for social media updates … those images and text messages can reach far and wide as well as triggering visits from people attending the show.

Sound and Vision

See A/V – Audio / Visual.


The TV series “Lost in Space” dates back to the 1960s and follows the adventures of a family thrown off course in the universe after their ship is sabotaged.

And, using its catchphrase, there’s “Danger, Will Robinson” if you become lost in the space of an exhibition.

The location and size of your exhibition space are among the first decisions you will make and you should secure your booking as early as possible before the best spots are snapped up.

Also see Floor Plan.

Speaking Opportunities

Not everyone is a natural orator but the top tips for public speaking include:

  • Practice makes perfect.
  • Give the audience something to take away.
  • Anticipate and answer questions.
  • Show you’re human by including anecdotes.
  • Have strong visual aids.
  • Imagine you are speaking to one person at a time.
  • Take a deep breath and relax before you start.

And speaking opportunities at events – seminars, workshops, panel Q&A sessions – are a great means of attracting new customers.

They allow you to be seen as an authority on your specialist subject and encourage members of the audience to seek you out.

Make sure you ask about available speaking opportunities when you book your exhibition space and try to negotiate a slot as part of your package.

Also, be aware that certain times of day are better than others if you are going to have an engaged audience. For example, late afternoon should be avoided if possible as people are either jaded or already heading home.

Plus, it is very important to focus what you say on providing useful information while avoiding “sales speak”.

Staffing and Recruitment

The difference between “recruiting” and “staffing” is often regarded as recruiting being the acquisition of full-time employees and staffing being the hiring of temporary workers.

Team members on an exhibition stand can be drawn from both. You should, however, bear in mind that, when we conduct customer research for clients, a top reason that’s given for attending events is:

“To speak to knowledgeable suppliers.”

So, when staffing and recruiting your team, make sure that the people on your stand are well versed in the features and benefits of your products and services.

Stand Types

The phrase “it takes all types” is believed to have originated within the pages of Don Quixote, the 1600s’ tale of a nobleman riding the roads of Spain in search of glory and grand adventure.

While exhibition display stands can appear to come in all shapes and sizes, there are three main types. They are:

Custom / bespoke stands

Stands that are custom designed and built have the greatest impact. These are the head-turners at any event and provide the best opportunity for you to showcase your products or services.

A bespoke exhibition stand can have the important “wow-factor” features, specific displays area, the latest technology, and can include space for hospitality and meetings.

Modular stands

While not being as grand as a unique custom exhibition stand, a modular stand offers an excellent level of flexibility.

Modular stands are designed to be fitted together and can be adapted to different sizes of event space.

Graphics are printed on fabric that is attached to the framework and a modular stand can also accommodate display screens and other technology.

Pop-up stands

Pop-up and banner stands are entry-level options; sometimes used within a “shell scheme” space (having walls and a ceiling).

They are quite small and very portable and can be designed with your bespoke graphics. However, they cannot feature technology like plasma screens and offer little opportunity to make a strong impact.


Strategy is a term that originates from the Greek strategia, meaning “generalship” or “command”. It wins battles and achieves business objectives.

Having a strategy for your exhibition activities will also provide you with a significant competitive advantage.

The elements that should be contained within your strategy for exhibitions and events include:

  • Scope – including your key metrics, targeted customers and desired outcomes.
  • Design and development – from the customer journey through to creative impact and technical innovation.
  • Promotion – using various means of attracting customers before and during events so you stand out from the crowd.
  • Measurement and analysis – interpreting and making the best use of data gathered when exhibiting so it contributes strongly to business development and ROI.

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