Say it with us: “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.” Would you ever try to vacation internationally without ample prior planning? Or go into a presentation for a major client thinking that it’s a wise choice to just “wing it?” Of course you wouldn’t. With big events like these, there are either too many moving pieces or too much at stake to leave anything up to chance. The same is true for trade show presentations, so get your trade show planning hat out and put it on. You’re going to need it.

For experienced trade show participants, the concept of pre-planning seems completely second nature. From staffing to booth design, product demonstrations to games and giveaways, talking points to lead generation, there are so many different factors at play with a trade show that failing to plan for even one of them can result in disaster.

Say you spend hours crafting an eye-catching booth and fun games, but don’t take the time to draw out talking points or map out what your presentation is going to be. Sure, you’ll draw potential customers to your booth with aesthetics and good fun, but they won’t have the foggiest idea of what you’re trying to sell them.

So how else can you completely botch your trade show performance with poor planning? Read on for a few examples.

Choosing the wrong show:

Not all trade shows are created equal, so don’t just Google trade shows in your industry and sign up blindly. You have to do research to find out about attendance, exposure, buzz, and more before you can decide whether or not a trade show is a good fit for your business. Otherwise, you could end up spending a lot of money on a booth for a trade show where the floor is so empty that tumbleweeds start blowing by. Your competitors will laugh at you (from afar, since they won’t have made the mistake of signing up for a useless event) and you’ll cry yourself to sleep wishing you had planned things a bit better.

Not reserving your space:

Most trade shows are operated on a first come, first served basis, which means that you have to reserve your space early if you want to be at a visible, high-traffic spot on the floor. Wait too long to sign up, and you’ll be lucky to get a spot in the janitor’s closet.


Spending too much money:

Like with any other kind of event planning, setting a reasonable budget for your trade show is one of the first things you should do. There are a lot of things to pay for, including booth designs, hotel reservations, registration fees, and more. Fleshing out a detailed budget from the get-go will help you avoid spending money your company doesn’t have.

As you can see, there are many different ways to destroy your trade show presentation by simply not planning. If you want to ruin your brand name at one of your industry’s highest profile events, then hire an awkward and unsocial staff for your presentation booth, or show up and try to wing your presentation. If you don’t want to fall into a hole of piss poor performance though, then spend some time (a lot of time!) planning out every aspect of the event. With a bit of luck, you’ll be rewarded with a strong industry reaction to your business and more leads than you know what to do with.