Trade show / exhibition

$1k to $5k
estimated cost of external help
  • Communicate effectively
  • Share
0-2 weeks
estimated run time
9 weeks or more
estimated lead time
Strong communicator
recommended experience
Trade shows and exhibitions gather together large numbers of industry members, customers and/or members of the public into a single location for a fixed period of time, usually a day or two. They typically have a specific theme that brings together exhibitors and attendees who have a shared interest. Generally, a trade show is industry-only, whereas an exhibition is open to the public.

If you’re working on a project that will impact a particular industry or geographic region, trade shows and exhibitions can be a great way of making contact with an engaged audience without the effort of needing to convene them yourself.

In 5 steps...

  1. Find and contact appropriate events in order to register your attendance, and promote your attendance to all relevant stakeholders.
  2. Create marketing and informational material as required for the purpose of the exhibit.
  3. Attend the event, communicating with both attendees and other exhibitors as required.
  4. Capture data from anyone requesting further information or input into future updates.
  5. Send out data and next-step information to those who requested it.

When to use it

Trade shows are good when you need to communicate a change or upcoming call for submissions and want to reach a large number of affected parties with limited effort. The timing is important, however, as these events usually run annually in each location, so their use may be determined by when the event occurs in relation to the decision-making process.


  • Easily reaching an audience with specific, similar interests.
  • Increased visibility of changes or proposed solutions.
  • Enables direct dialogue with those affected by a project’s outcomes.
Long term
  • Improved reception of outcomes.


Generally, exhibiting is an opportunity to answer questions and communicate information, and therefore it is fairly low-risk. Still, ensure that exhibitors are aware of the boundaries of what they can and cannot say, in order to avoid misrepresenting you or making participants feel they have the ability to contribute to, or impact, outcomes when that may not be the case.



  • Research who is likely to attend and what questions they might have, and prepare material accordingly.
  • Ensure the signage is attractive and clearly shows who you represent and the reason you are there.
  • Discuss with the organiser where you will be located, and determine if there are other exhibitors you would benefit from being near.
  • Consider what material you would like to give away to participants.

During the process

  • Have staff for your exhibit who are friendly, approachable and well briefed.
  • Make sure you have trained staff to know how to respond when they don’t have an answer to a question, and where to direct visitors for further information.
  • Have staff circulate around the show. In some cases, exhibit staff might be just as important to you as attendees.
  • Other exhibit staff may be part of a sales team rather than the intended audience for your message. Try to determine this quickly and provide information for them to take to give to the right person later on.


  • Be sure to follow up as soon as possible with anyone who provided their details for further information.