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We always advise our clients – whenever possible – to make presentations at the trade shows and conferences where they exhibit. There are a number of good reasons for you to do it, such as:

  1. Positioning yourself as a subject matter expert, industry authority, industry thought leader, etc.
  2. Drawing more attention to your company and driving more traffic to your exhibit to talk about what you said – and your product or service.
  3. Generating more news coverage for your company.
  4. Taking advantage of promotional materials from the show’s publicity efforts.

One of our clients, Unilux, which makes strobe lights for industrial surface inspection, has been able to use presentations at a conference for surface inspection to update the steel industry on the progress of an evolving technology for inspecting the edge of a trimmed steel strip moving at full production speed. The presentations helped introduce the technological concepts behind edge inspection and show its progression to a viable product.

That, in turn, helped them open and advance discussions with corporate and mill managers for the international companies that own and operate facilities that sell value-added treated steel to the auto and appliance industries and other OEMs.

Presentations also helped the company get coverage in several worldwide trade journals.

Last year, we worked with a client that makes loudspeaker systems for emergency mass notification and public safety uses to make a presentation to port security officials. Those in the audience were responsible for complying with more rules and regulations than you can shake a stick at, but they never had the opportunity to hear about what goes into a system that projects high-clarity voice.

The presentation was educational. It introduced the principles of sound for voice, outlined the procedures needed to design and specify an emergency mass notification system for a port and provided some tips about equipment selection and pitfalls to avoid.

The systems they need to buy cost well into six figures, generally with a crooked number at the far left when all is said and done. A purchase decision doesn’t come quickly. It took a few months, but an attendee called back, citing all the educational material in the presentation as the kicker. He wants other parties who will be involved in using a new emergency mass notification system to know what a quality system requires. He zeroed in on voice quality, noting that voice over their present system “sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher.”

Presentations opened the door for both companies.

So, how do you get on the program? Most critical, you need to have important information for those who will attend the show. Stewards of the program are not interested in mere product news. They want to deliver – through you – new ideas that attendees can use to do their jobs better.

When you know you are going to a trade show, find out about the program when you inquire about exhibiting. You most likely will be directed to the program committee’s chairperson or a website page that outlines the programs and solicits presenters. You likely will need to fill out a form and prepare an abstract to submit to the committee. Make sure your answers to questions and your abstract clearly describe the benefits of your presentation attendees and avoid commercialism.

For smaller conferences, you might need to communicate directly with the conference owner or manager. You’ll need to make a clear, concise case for the information you want to present and why it’s important for attendees.

Whether it’s a large trade show or small conference, everyone’s credibility is at stake. The closer you get to center of the bull’s eye for what you and the event managers want attendees to know, the more powerful your presentation will be. And the more likely you are to get a call from someone who felt the power.