You’ve come to the end of your exhibition and you’ve got all this data that needs sorting out. You need to consider your next steps in order to make sure all the hard work during the show hasn’t been wasted.
Those all-important exhibition objectives that you set at the beginning in the planning process are still out of reach until you have completed your final two steps.
Firstly, you need to conduct an internal debrief, and secondly, following on from this you need to follow up on all those hard earned leads you’ve got.
Research suggests that over 75% of leads generated at an exhibition are never followed up, meaning businesses who don’t end the event with a debrief and clear follow up instructions lose out immensely on seeing a return on their investment.
Why Conduct a Debrief?
You may come away from your exhibition feeling positive and feeling that the event has been a total success. Realistically, you may be the only one thinking that, and your data may suggest otherwise.
Conducting an after event debrief will allow you to get feedback from other members of staff who attended the show and gives you a chance to have a look at the data you’ve brought back from the event.
The debrief is simply asking a series of targeted questions about the event and drawing to a conclusion at the end. By doing this it allows you to look at what happened during the event, how you can do things better for the next show and how better to use this experience.
A debrief provides concrete evidence of what worked, what didn’t, how effective your staff were and allows you to draw up your conclusion for better planning.
Tips for Conducting a Successful Debrief
Book in Advance
Always make sure you plan the debrief and get it booked in advance. A good time to do it is the next working day, once everyone who needs to be there is back in the office, and thoughts about the exhibition are fresh in the mind.
It’s not that people don’t want to attend a debrief but more often than not people just get so busy with work that it gets put off, that why it must be booked in advance.
It doesn’t have to take all day, a quick half hour will be sufficient as long as it is constructive and productive.
Have an Informal Chat
At the beginning of the meeting just let everyone know they are free to share their honest thoughts and feeling about the event. Honest feedback is always the most helpful!
No matter their role during the event or their position within the company you need to hear how everyone felt and what their thoughts are.
It’s a chance for staff members to be honest about what they enjoyed, what they didn’t enjoy, their opinion on the products or services you had to offer or even what they thought of the promotional material and exhibition stand.
Review Your Set Objectives
A 30 minute debrief could turn into an hour’s worth on gossip and chit chat if you don’t use the time constructively.
Bring a list of the exhibition objectives to the meeting so that you can all agree together if you feel you have reached them.
It may be that you’re unable to provide a full conclusion of the set objectives as some of them may need more time to achieve.
Objectives, such as generate 30 new business leads by the end of the exhibition, can be discussed and concluded now. Objectives, such as generate £6000 revenue in sales as a result of the exhibition by a set date, will need to be looked at again when you have reached the agreed date.
During the planning process when you were setting your exhibition objectives you would have already looked at the follow up plan. Here you will have set targets for the follow up. It’s as important if not more so than the event itself.
During the debrief you can hand out the acquired business leads to the relevant people and remind them of their follow up plans, targets and deadlines.
Recap Your Meeting
Towards the end of the meeting just take a few moments to give a quick recap. This can include any tasks that have been set or given to member of staff.
You can also give a very brief overview if you think the event was a success overall and thank the staff for their effort during the event. This is also a great opportunity to mention any members of staff who you think went above and beyond.
The debrief at the end of your event is a vital part in the whole process and allows you to gather important and helpful feedback which allows you to continue to plan events which are both effective and innovative.
It also gives you the knowledge of what worked well, what didn’t, and ideas for a better approach for the next exhibition.
We hope these tips help your next exhibition debrief to run smoothly.
At XL Display we are experts in exhibition stand design and offer a wide range of display equipment, from portable displays, such as pop up display stands, to bespoke exhibition stands.
For more information on our product range or graphic design service, please contact us or call us on 01733 511030.