Exhibition school

  • Become a master mingler

    Mingling isn’t just about movie premieres, champagne and hors d’oeuvres – your talent for business mingling can be crucial to your success.

    Wear your name tag correctly
    Your name tag should be placed high up to the right.  As you greet someone, lean your right shoulder slightly forwards – this makes it much easier for the other person to read your name tag. Wearing your name tag high up means anyone you are talking to can easily glance at it to remind themselves of your name and title.

    Be aware of your body language
    Never cross your arms or legs. It’s easier to approach someone who has an open body language. If you find it hard not to cross your arms, try holding something in your hand. Don’t sit down – at all.  It’s much harder to approach someone who’s sitting down. So make sure to wear comfortable shoes, because you will be standing up.

    Make eye contact and smile
    Be confident and make eye contact with everyone you meet. A lot of people find it uncomfortable and don’t do it.  In addition to making eye contact – you should smile. It doesn’t need to be your best photo smile. Just smiling slightly shows that you are happy to be where you are. This makes you seem more approachable and attractive.

    Say “Hi”
    You don’t need to have an arsenal of advanced sales pitches or rehearsed monologs. Making eye contact, looking happy and saying “Hi” equals the perfect introduction.

    Start talking – or listening
    We have two ears and one mouth.  Instead of telling visitors all about yourself, ask why they’ve come to the event and what they think about it, if there's anything particular they're looking for, where they work, and so on.  The truth is that people love talking about themselves. Let the conversation begin.

    Your goal controls the discussion
    Set a goal for your participation.  This goal ultimately controls how much you talk and what you talk about. Are you here to create as many new contacts as possible or do you want by-the-book business meetings resulting in a contract? All of these aspects will control how you structure what you say.

    Conclude in the right way
    A good way of concluding a conversation is to summarize what you have both said and what you have agreed on. Will you send a brochure within a week? Will you be getting together for lunch on Thursday? Will you be sending them a quote?

    Only make promises you can keep
    If you say you’ll email a quote within a week, make sure that you do.  It’s all about building trust – we do business with people we trust. Forgetting to send that quote you promised means that you have already betrayed the trust you were given.

    Follow up and start networking
    There’s just as much work to do after an event as there is before and during an event. This is the time to follow up with new contacts, send quotes and brochures, and set up lunch meetings. Now you’re tying up the loose ends initiated by your mingling and maintaining the relationships you’ve established. Start networking!

    How can I practice in advance?
    Visiting other exhibitions and events is a great idea. How are you treated? Who interests you enough to initiate contact? Paying attention to what other people do and practicing your skills makes you better at networking.

  • Dramatize more

    Creating a narrative around your product allows you to generate greater interest and relevance. The Swedish branding agency Rewir’s Creative Director, Olle Nyström, an expert on events and meetings, suggests four tricks you can use.

    1. Meeting visitors at their level
    It’s 10am and visitors are queueing to get in; as an exhibitor, you’re supercharged and want to give it all you’ve got. But visitors are often in another place mentally; they wander around rather aimlessly without knowing exactly what they’re after. At the same time, taking part in an exhibition has many benefits as visitors will have a general interest in the theme and have paid to get in.

    Olle suggests: – Exhibitors and visitors need to meet each other halfway. Instead of launching straight in to your product’s or service’s solution, try to envisage the visitor’s mental state, why they are here, what their goals and needs are. You need to relate to the visitor. If your stand makes a relevant impression, your chances of a productive conversation will increase. You will frequently find relevance in Step One: The visitor’s problems, needs or desires.

    2. Creating context
    At food and drink fairs, you can often sample one product together with another: a cheese and a wine, waffles and jam, etc. You can use the same technique to create a connection with your product, i.e. display it in a certain context.

    Olle suggests: – You can show how the items interact and create a universe around your product.

    3. Designing your stand correctly
    Creating a narrative doesn’t mean that you have to design your stand as a corridor where the visitor views items in a set sequence. It’s more about how you display your solution, the context you choose and the images you convey as a result. If you sell reading chairs, you could create a home library with a fireplace and Vivaldi playing softly to convey the peace of mind the visitors will experience when they sink down in the chair.

    Olle suggests: – Obviously you’ll want to display your product, but it’s often more relevant to show what the visitor can achieve with your product, what problem it solves or which need it satisfies. If you’re able to create a narrative and dramatize it, the visitor will leave in possession of a story. There is nothing that affects us as deeply, and that’s what you want to achieve.

    4. Considering the consequences
    Once you’ve led your visitors through Step One and then shown your brilliant solution in Step Two, you’re on the home stretch. This is about sealing the deal and taking care of any questions that may arise.  If you’re selling a yacht for two million SEK, you could coordinate with a banker to arrange financing, a trailer supplier to transport the yacht home or a marina where the visitor can berth it.

    Olle suggests: – Try to be prepared for the consequences that the purchase of your solution may involve.

    Creating a narrative allows you to involve the visitor in your story. In its simplest form, you can divide it into three steps, known as the dramaturgic line. This is frequently about a problem (need, preference, longing), a solution and a consequence in which the loose ends are tied together or new questions that arise are answered. For a charter company, the dramaturgic line might look like this:

    •Need – we are reminded of a beach, a beach umbrella and a book. We begin to feel a longing to get away and “need” a relaxing holiday trip.
    •Solution – a plane journey to the destination.
    •Consequence – the company has arranged a hotel, guided tours, child minding or a cookery course at the destination.

    “Just shouting out “Majorca 4,999 SEK” would be leaving out the all-important first step. Talking to the visitor and finding out about what they want and desire - their motivation - increases the likelihood of having a rewarding conversation with that person. Then you can present your solution in a relevant way,” explains Olle Nyström.

  • The importance of lighting

    Lighting your stand in the right way determines if the visitor’s interest is captured – or if they walk on by. Here are some suggestions from Peter Jernberg, Stockholmsmässan’s lighting expert, on successful lighting strategies.

    Why lighting?
    Many exhibitors don't give enough consideration to the importance of lighting.  Lighting a stand is far more than just providing light; it’s also about creating an ambience. Among thousands of visitors and hundreds of stands, you need to stick out from the crowd and reinforce your message. Light is an excellent tool which far too few exhibitors use proactively in their stand design.

    First think twice
    It’s usually very obvious to the exhibitor which products to focus on during an exhibition. Lighting is just as important as where you place your product - it is another way to create focus.   It can include everything from choice of lighting fixture to the light source. Consider lighting as a natural part of how you plan to display your products and services.

    Correct positioning
    Direct your spotlights so that they highlight the product for anyone looking at the stand from outside. It is important to capture the interest of the passing visitor, and that your stand looks inviting.  It's often most appropriate to light into the stand rather than outwards.  If the lighting inside the stand is wrongly directed you could risk blinding your visitors.  Trying to do business with someone who has to squint or cover their eyes with their hand is not ideal.  Creating a sense of wellbeing is just as important as showcasing the product itself.

    Choose the right light source
    Does your stand represent a company with a strong environmental profile?  Keep in mind that you should make this evident through lighting and electricity use.  Low energy LED lights might be an option. If your main priority is color and esthetics then your choice of light source is extremely important.  Different light sources suit different contexts.  Some products are more suited to daylight showcasing. In that case, use a light source with daylight qualities.  Also consider that some more modern light sources are not ideal for color reproduction (for example LED).  If color reproduction is important, choose a light source with a high RA-index such as halogen or some types of metal halogen.

    Prioritize contrasts
    Having too bright general lighting is a common mistake that many exhibitors make; it can give the stand a flat and boring appearance.  Draw inspiration from the world of theater. You would rarely light the entire stage – you spotlight the things the audience needs to see. 

    We can help!
    Stockholmsmässan is more than happy to help if you’d like to work with the lighting in your stand but aren't sure where to start.  Instead of just spending lots of money on equipment, it's well worth paying for expert advice and getting the right lighting.  Sometimes fewer light fixtures can make a greater impact - if you know how to use them.

  • Engage all senses

    There is stiff competition for the visitors' attention, but there are some clever shortcuts. “Engage all of the visitors’ senses to enhance the image of your company. It adds more to your brand than words alone,” says Ellen Källberg, who lectures on trade shows for Nordiska Undersökningsgruppen. Here are eight ways to attract visitors to your stand and make a lasting impression.

    1. Visually enhance your message
     It’s important to grab your visitors’ attention and make them want to approach. When a leading tire company wanted to showcase their new ecologically friendly tires they sowed a whole wall of green lettuce and two rows of red lettuce.  From a distance it looked like a painted green road with two red tire tracks.

    Ellen suggests:  One clever trick is to attract the visitors' attention from a distance.  It’s also important that what you display is in keeping with the message you want to convey.

    2. Capture the visitors’ gaze
     Start by going through your photos from your stand at the previous exhibition:  What worked well and not so well?  Think about how most of the stands will look at your exhibition and create something that the visitors will notice.  Eye-catching interior decoration and lots of color can be perfect if it suits your company and the context. 

    Ellen suggests:  It's important to stand out from your neighbors, and to be visible from a distance if you can.  

    3. Let the visitor experience and interact
     Think about the difference between presenting your product and demonstrating your product.  It's even better if the visitor can feel the product; it makes them stay longer and remember it better as well.

    Ellen suggests:  There is an apt quote from Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”. And that is so true.

    4. Create your own space
     If you are able to work with sound, it’s important to ensure the sound stays inside the stand.  To successfully do this - and to give the visitors a feeling of being in a completely new environment – it can be a good idea to screen off the stand.

    Ellen suggests:  Using fabric, wallpaper or large screens will turn the stand into your very own space.

    5. Set the mood
     Sound has a unique power to set a positive mood.  It also drowns out the murmuring from the show floor.  But many exhibitions have introduced anti-noise rules to avoid a cacophony, so find out what rules apply at your exhibition.

    Ellen suggests:  A good example is the exhibitor who was promoting Sweden at an international trade fair using an ABBA-theme.  A cover band was going to play in the stand, but it turned out that the fair organizers had issued a music ban.  The solution? All the fair visitors were given head phones, and were then able to listen to “The Winner takes it all”.

    6. Create a signature scent
     Scents are associated with both old and new memories. You can utilize this to the max by creating a signature scent for your company.  Say you are selling golf clubs, perhaps the smell of newly cut grass is what you're after?

     Ellen suggests:  Try to associate the scent to the company identity.  In what context is your product used and how do you want the company to be perceived?

    7. Offer a treat
     While traditional hard candy is the obvious choice, try to think of something original.  What kind of company are you? What type of meetings you want to take place in your stand?

    Ellen suggests:  When you’re offering a treat it’s important to make it easy for visitors to eat - and make sure there's enough to go around.  If you can’t afford to treat every visitor, you should invest in a VIP section instead of denying visitors.

    8. Respect each other
     Not everybody appreciates high-pitched bird song or a smoke machine simply because you want to simulate life in the wilderness.   You need to be tactical about your choice of sensory impressions.

     Ellen suggests:  Be careful not to annoy your neighbors and also consider your staff.  Will they be able to stand working in this environment for several days?

  • Use the exhibition's PR channels correctly

    PR stands for Public Relations and refers to your relations with the press, your customers and others. When you exhibit at Stockholmsmässan you should use all the PR channels available to maximize your participation in an exhibition – we’ll show you how.

    1. Make use of your online e-stand
     In addition to your physical stand you also have a virtual space on the exhibition's web site.  Your company name, address, web link and stand number is automatically uploaded here.  But you should also add contacts, press releases, brochures, images, movies, brands you represent, etc.  This can easily be done using our publishing tool on the web site. 

    SUGGESTION:  You can start publishing information in your e-stand ahead of the exhibition.  We recommend doing this as early as possible as you will be very busy once the exhibition starts.

    2. Write and publish press releases
     You can publish press releases in your e-stand.  These are also automatically shown on the press pages of the exhibition web site.  Here you can find exhibition messages in one column and exhibitor messages in another. 

    SUGGESTION:  When journalists visit the press page for accreditation they will see your press releases at the same time. 

    3. Submit material to the press room
     Almost all journalists will drop by Stockholmsmässan's press room to get an overview and collect information.  Therefore it's a good idea to submit a press kit with information about the company, press releases and even a CD with images or information about how to obtain images.  But never provide just brochures or product catalogs – journalists usually aren't interested in them. 

    4. Managing your goodie bags
     Some exhibitors choose to provide samples or other items to the press in so-called goodie bags.  These can be left in the press room for pick-up.  Unfortunately sometimes people take more than one goodie bag, especially if there is something appealing inside.  Just because they’ve taken a bag in the press room doesn’t necessarily mean they will visit your stand. 

    SUGGESTION:  It's better to hand out goodie bags and other promotional gifts from your stand.  Your press kit could invite journalists to visit your stand to pick up these items.

    5. Arrange a press conference or press preview
     Many exhibitors arrange a press preview or press conference at their stand for a specific time. They might bring a guest in to announce something, make a presentation or offer samples. If you would like to organize a press conference and take part in the exhibition’s program, please contact the Press Unit to add your company name.

    SUGGESTION:  One week before the exhibition opens, the Press Unit sends a program to the press. Make sure you notify the Press Unit about your press preview well in advance. You can also borrow a room close to the Press Center for your own press previews free of charge.

    6. When do you have most press on the premises?
     Stockholmsmässan usually organizes a press breakfast or press briefing on the opening day to provide information about the exhibition.

    SUGGESTION:  Most media representatives will be at the venue on the first day. Take this opportunity to invite them to your stand for a press preview.

    7. Permission to use the exhibition’s logo
     You are very welcome to let people know that you are taking part in a specific exhibition by using their logo in your own advertising and mailings.

  • Stand magnets

    There’s a lot you can do to attract visitors to an exhibition long before it opens. You need good long-term planning and an imaginative approach. Here are nine suggestions for attention-grabbing invitations.

    1. Invest in an invitation promotion
    The most important thing to think about is choosing the right customers to invite. Do you want to focus on existing customers or on landing your ultimate prospective clients? Decide which are the most important and target them.

    2. Personalize your invitation
    Create a personalized invitation: address the customer by their first name and direct your offer clearly to that person. Don’t just send an email invitation – send a paper invitation as well.  Think outside the box in terms of channels. Consider how to get your invitation in front of your customers.

    3. Rationalize your invitation
    A rational invitation allows the customer to visualize what they will find in the stand.  For example: “We’ll show you how the cars of the future are going to work – right now”.

    4. Emotionalize your invitation
    Attract visitors with a reward that tugs at the heart strings if they bring their invitation along to the stand. One example of this is the company that donated money to the Swedish Cancer Society if visitors came to their stand. This was an excellent initiative in two ways, since many of the visitors were also research scientists dependent on donations.

    5. Add a hook to your invitation

    An invitation with a hook draws the visitor in.  You could send a CD cover where the visitor only gets the CD when they come to the stand, or take inspiration from the company that mailed out bike keys of which just a tiny number opened a bike in the stand.

    6. Be clear and practical
    Whatever style of invitation you choose, it needs to contain practical information. This could be a map that makes it easy for the visitor to find you. You could recommend the best times for the customer to visit your stand. Take the opportunity to provide your social media links in the invitation.

    7. Use Facebook to get the ball rolling
    You could use Facebook to start competitions and announce the winner(s) during the exhibition. The longer you can keep visitors interested, the better. Really utilize the two-way communication that Facebook provides. Encourage visitors to vote, like, comment, etc.

    8. Generosity is rewarding
    The companies that really make an effort to understand what customers want instead of only focusing on their own needs often enjoy the best long-term success. There are even companies that use their blog or Facebook page to tip off customers about what their competitors will be doing at the exhibition, purely out of consideration for the customer. This can provide powerful brand enhancement.

    9. Be colorful – in moderation

    It can pay off to use vivid colors to stand out from the crowd. If you do, remember to be consistent and only emphasize colors that are already a natural part of your brand. To make a sudden switch to neon orange before an exhibition will just seem like attention-seeking and could harm your brand.

  • Picking the right color scheme

    The choice of colors and shades has a major impact on the impression your stand makes on visitors – and on your message. Color consultant Joanna Pierre Foucard reveals how to use color successfully.

    Find the feeling
     When you’re planning your stand, think about the impression you want to give your visitors. Do you want to convey dependable tradition, groundbreaking innovations or a healthier lifestyle? The feeling you want your visitors to get can be created using interior decoration and color.

    An element of surprise
     If you want to grab the attention of passers-by, you should choose a vibrant and unusual color. Bright purple or vivid turquoise is difficult to pass by without a reaction, and strong contrasts and crazy color combinations make a guaranteed impact. At the same time, eye-catching colors could cause you to lose customers who simply don’t like neon yellow or lavender.

    The colors of nature
     If you want to create a sense of peace and calm, it’s a good idea to take inspiration from nature’s palette and choose muted shades with a hint of blackness. This could be the gray-blue hues of the sky or the green tones of the forest. The overall environment should be minimalistic and free from sharp contrasts.

    Avoid red and black
     Red is a very forceful color that could cause visitors to feel resistance depending on how it is used. According to color psychology, red not only signals party and passion but also warning and danger. Black-colored walls can be sober and exclusive, but using too much black could steal some of the stand’s precious lighting.

    White doesn’t have to be colorless
     Soft white, beige and gray tones can be perceived as dull and washed out, but experimenting with textures and material makes them much more appealing.  White walls finished with textiles such as shaggy wool, crushed velvet and shiny silk evoke a desire to touch.

    Choosing the right shade
     Often a bright color sample will look better on the wall with a hint of black. A vivid color will convey a feeling of energy and courage.  A bright orange color suggests positive energy, while a muted ocher shade gives a feeling of patina-covered security. 

    Patterns – less is more
     If you want to display your fantastic collection of antiques from the 1700s, you should choose wallpaper and fabrics to echo the theme. But patterns in very striking colors could distract visitors from your products.

    Using color in your outfit
     You and your stand should feel like a unit. You and your products are one. If you’re selling hand-made pots in bright colors, don’t wear a gray suit – it strikes the wrong note. Colorful clothes or bold accessories might be just what you need.

    Keeping up with the Jones
     Always check who your neighbors will be when you are planning your stand. You don’t want it to be overshadowed by colorful neighbors. If you know that they will be showcasing brightly colored products next door, it makes sense to contrast with something completely different.

  • Mingling after-hours

    Keep using your stand even after the exhibition has closed for the day. We provide easy ways for you to organize informal gatherings and other happenings for your customers with entertainment, snacks and refreshments. Here are some suggestions.

    The casual meet-and-greet
     Invite guests and clients to get-togethers at your stand after the exhibition has closed for the day.  That allows for casual meetings at a more relaxed pace.  You could showcase products and services, or just hang out.  The possibilities are endless.  You can hire other parts of the complex for larger get-togethers and parties.

    Plan ahead
     A successful get-together requires careful planning.  Design your stand so it can easily be adapted for get-togethers, competitions or other kinds of meetings.  A section of the stand can be cordoned off in anticipation of the evening's event.  The lighting can easily be adjusted to create a more relaxed ambience.
    Stockholmsmässan is more than happy to help with your arrangements.

    Snacks and refreshments
     Champagne and hors d’oeuvres, a healthy smoothie, salmon blinis or Mexican nibbles?   Mässrestauranger AB at Stockholmsmässan offer tailored stand catering for both daytime and evening events, whether you require a three-course meal, a simple hot dog stand, or just coffee and cake.  Would you like fine wine, a keg of beer or a full bar?  Talk to Mässrestauranger AB, which holds the license to serve alcohol throughout the venue. 

    Consider getting a solo performer, a dance floor with a disco ball or a rock band that gets your guests going.  Everything is possible after-hours.  You can easily create an interactive entertainment area using a Wii console or touch screens to challenge your guests to games, competitions and quizzes.  Your stand can fit approximately thirty people comfortably for any evening event.  For larger gatherings there are many other areas of the exhibition center available for hire. 

    The night is young…
    Most exhibitors use their stand to host get-togethers lasting two or three hours after the exhibition has closed for the day.  But you can stay open until midnight.  Invite your guests for pre-dinner drinks in your stand before taking them out for a meal in town or at one of Stockholmsmässan's own restaurants.  Alternatively, offer your guests energy drinks and light snacks while you sum up your impressions after a long day at the exhibition.