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Exhibitions & Fairs – what does a virtual assistant need?

We’ve had a few posts on the SVA Forum recently asking for a definitive list of what you will need when exhibiting at a fair or show.

For Display and attracting people to your stall:

  • Pop up banner
  • Laptop
  • Plasma screen
  • A large bowl of sweets – clear plastic picnic ware is unbreakable for travelling!
    Shiny balloons to draw the eye.
  • Goody bags
    Raffle prizes – chocolates, bottle of cava, free services

Essential bits:

  • Extension cables
  • Gaffer tape
  • Sticky Velcro pads to put up posters/flyers
  • String/cable ties for attaching banners
  • Tablecloth – hides a multitude of sins under the table!
    Different sized boxes under a cloth to provide height interest that you then display your wares on.
    A wheeled cart – these are great for transporting all your conference stuff.
  • Comfy but professional shoes, you’ll be on your feet most of the day.
  • Water – talking is thirsty work!
  • Snacks/fruit – talking is hungry work!

For contacting people:

  • Business card draw bowl
  • Your business cards to give out to people – top tip: give them a few to give to friends
  • Pens
  • Sign up sheet/clipboard for newsletter
  • Big blank piece of paper for people to write comments about your business on.  It encourages interaction and gets you some good feedback.
  • Surveys with contact details
  • Ask conference organisers for a delegate list afterwards – they usually have these on a spreadsheet with permission for exhibitors to contact them.
See also  Top 5 things VA Clients need to know!

Remember: Concentrate on getting people’s contact details and following up – they will have been bombarded with information in a short space of time and won’t always remember to contact you, so reminding them of your presence becomes the most important thing you can do.  And how do you contact them if you don’t have their details?

What’s worked well for you as a VA?  Did you have a special prize you gave away?  Did a client come back to you a year (or more!) after an exhibition?


  1. Mark Crone on 21 March, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Caroline, this is a great post and covers a comprehensive list, I just wanted to take the opportunity to add another couple of comments, I hope you agree!

    As Exhibition & Fairs are notoriously expensive, I have also found the following beneficial:

    1. Make sure you promote your attendance prior to the event to as many people (clients and prospects) as possible and through as many mediums as possible (e.g. e-mail, twitter, linked-in, etc).
    2. Make full use of the exhibition web site, ensuring that you fill in your company profile and take advantage of the free online advertising.
    3. When booking the exhibition space make sure you ask for complimentary advertising in the event handbook – typically this could be an added value benefit at no extra cost.
    4. Take PR material to the press office on the day of arrival and make sure you visit daily to ensure your replenish stock.
    5. Make sure you speak with the officials running the PR office and try to do a sales pitch on them.
    6. Write to all the other exhibitors prior to the event and make sure you follow-up and introduce yourselves to them during the exhibition.

    The planning of the stand, day to day activities during the exhibition and follow-up on the leads are all critical and a must for everybody. However, many people forget to capitalise on the free advertising and PR opportunities. Also as so much time is put in to organising the actual event sometimes the promotion of it prior to the big day is forgotten about until it is too late.

    • Caroline on 22 March, 2011 at 9:06 am

      Good points there Mark! We actually got a client over 2 years after an exhibition – strange but true! Especially with start up exhibitions, it may take people a while until they are in a position to need help, so the follow up is key.

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