Jan 6, 2011

Putting up a stall in a fair is like giving a presentation

Yesterday I talked about the stall my company is putting up in a large exhibition (consumer fair). Managing a stall in an exhibition is so much like presenting.

Here are the challenges of putting up a cooking oil stall in a consumer fair:

1. How do we get noticed? People are not there to see us.

2. Generate curiosity and interest and make people come in.

3. Once in, share information about the brand without overloading them with info and without boring them.

4. Convince them to buy the product (call to action).

If you are making a presentation, point 1 is ruled out. The audience sees you. But point 2, 3 and 4 are very pertinent.

#2 Are you able to generate curiosity about the subject/topic and make your audience want to know more? Are you able to make them see what you want them to see?

To do this, you need to stand out. We are making people curious by the design. Our stall front is attractive (or so it is supposed to be). If people like something they would like to check it out. That's the bottomline. We are also putting up banners/standies outside which appeal to the discount hunter. We are popularising our 'special offers'.

#3 Once you have the attention, make the most of it. The audience is listening to you. Now get your main message across without any nonsense. Be short and sweet. Remember, when you say many things you say nothing. People cannot remember so much. Say 1 thing and say it well. You have to sacrifice and make your message simple.

We too have tried to do the same inside the stall. We have a registration counter where we ask very few questions (this is for market research). After this there is a free health check up for all visitors. After which is the sales counter and our sales pitch is of just 1 sentence. The interiors are simple and just focus on the product image and the image of the brand ambassadors. Visually appetizing. If they just remember us after they have gone out, we would be happy.

#4 Call to action. Every presentation has an objective. Know why you are making the presentation and work hard to achieve it.

Our objectives are two; create awareness for our brand and generate sales (make people to try our new brand). We have clearly made the stall attractive so people come in. Once in, they will only get to see the brand name and nothing else. No unnecessary literature. For sales to happen we have planned exciting offers. Over and above that, we need to be flexible. So we will keep changing and trying new things until we hit the bulls eye. Until we have so much crowd that we are stocked out.

That is what we all need to do with our presentations. Keep trying, failing, learning and improving with every presentation we make. Keep your eye on the objective and keep aiming to hit the bulls eye.


  1. Good analogies here!

    In one sense, even a one-on-one conversation is a speech.

    Thanks for the Post, Vivek!

  2. Hi Fred. Nice to see you here. It is true that a one-on-one is also a speech. That's why we need to be aware of principles of communication every time.