Trade Show & Convention Prep Cheat Sheet

Trade shows and conventions can be a company’s most profitable endeavor and are certainly a great way to show off your company, your brand and your product – if done well. But the preparation leading up to these massive events can be exhausting and taxing.

At IES, we’ve been in the business of helping companies put their best face forward at trade shows for years. In that time, we’ve seen some people who bring their A game and we’ve seen others who appear a bit underprepared.

So, we’ve scoured the brains of our team and the entire internet to bring you our top recommendations for how to best prepare for your next trade show or convention. A little planning and preparation ahead of time can take you and your company a long way.


Here’s what we recommend:

  1. Know the show.

It’s important to do a little homework so that you know some basic information about the show you are attending such as the size of the display table you will have, will you have wall space for a company sign, are there electrical outlets nearby and any other basics that may or may not be included.

  1. Design an effective display.

This is where the train starts to derail for some people. Don’t let fancy bells and whistles get in the way of the basics. Your logo needs to be visible and large. Your website needs to be prominent. Your table needs to be clean and organized. Click here for some great detail about creating a home-run display.

  1. Pre-promotion is key.

Don’t overlook the basic invitation. Let your customers and leads know you are going to be there. This is where an effective e-mail blast and social media posts can come in handy. Share information about the show, offer a special prize, have a cool giveaway. Continue to communicate during the show. Check to see if the show has a hashtag. Make daily posts using that hashtag to keep yourself in the conversation.

  1. Get people in your booth.

Two people sitting in chairs behind a table on their smartphones is hardly a productive use of company time and money. Instead of turning people away from your booth, invite them in with games, giveaways, an interactive display, or demonstration of some sort. Think about the successful trade show booths you have visited and ask yourself what they did right.

  1. Show off your company.

Your exhibit needs to look amazing. Meet with professional graphics creators and printers, way ahead of time to find out what the latest materials and trends are. Don’t assume your only option is the standard vinyl banner or tablecloth. At IES, we are constantly offering new printing techniques and materials that can set your brand apart from the rest.

For help getting your company ready for your next big event, call IES at 615-333-9042, email us at or visit our website at