The first edition of The Profitable Trade Show by Michael Hough ...
is now sold out. But we are working on the next edition which we hope to publish in late 2004. Meanwhile, this web site provides practical, "how-to" information for all who produce face to face events such as exhibitions, trade shows and conferences.

Profit Tips
White Papers
Large Show Roundtable

Also Available

White Papers Index

W1 - All is Not Well

W2 - Sample of a Memo to Content Partners

W3 - Ten Commandments for Speakers

W4 - 100 Tips in 75 Minutes

W5 - All About E-Newsletters

W6 - The Other Two Legs

W7 - Five Mistakes Associations Make

W8 - 15 Attendance Promotion Tips

W9 - Ten Questions to Ask When Considering a Launch

W10 - 15 Cost-Saving Tips

W11 - 15 E-Marketing Tips

W12 - Strategic Review of a Show

W13 - Launching a New Event

W14 - Avoiding Attrition Penalties

W15 - The Case Against Audits

W16 - Co-location for Fun and Profit

W17 - Improving the Association Show

W18 - International Attendance Promotion

W19 - Helping International Visitors Obtain Visas

W20 - Fixing the Machine

Exhibition and Convention Executives Forum

Large Show Roundtable


Ten Commandments for Speakers

By Jack Powers

I. No Sales Pitches

Conferences are for education, not promotion. The audience is paying with money and minutes to get your information and perspectives. Don't pitch your product, promote your company or trash your competition. The biggest complaint from attendees is that speakers spent the whole session hawking their wares instead of educating their audience.

If you pitch, you're out. You won't be asked back and your company will go to the bottom of the proposal list for the next show. Only about 15% of those who ask to speak are accepted, so you're part of a very special group of business educators.

II. Read the Brochure

Give the seminar that attendees came to hear. Too many speakers spew canned material that doesn't fit the context. The conference brochure is your contract with the audience; it's your responsibility to deliver.

III. Be On Time

It's most important to start on time, but plan your presentation so that every important point gets heard before you end-on time. Don't spend the first 45 minutes on fluff and than cram all the important ideas into the last 15 minutes.

IV. Be Readable

Make sure your slides and handouts are legible. You know you've lost when you have to say: "I know you can't read this slide, but there's important information here."

V. Keep the Energy Up

Shout, move around, gesticulate: do what you have to do to keep the energy in the room up. If you're funny, tell some jokes. If you're angry, yell. If you're sleepy, mumbling or not very interested, stay home.

VI. Build a Story

Interesting seminars are a series of problems and solutions, ups and downs that keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Beginners repeat their key points over and over to fill the hour.

VII. Be Clear and Avoid Cliches

Don't assume attendees know what you know. If you give an acronym, give the definition. If you mention a person, give title and affiliation. Keep the inside jokes to a minimum, and keep away from hoary canards like "Content, etc. is king" and any variation of "If you build it, they will come."

VIII. Get Out of the Room

Conference rooms can be dreary places. Great speakers project the audience's attention into the outside world with anecdotes, slides, photos and videos that make the ideas and stories more tangible than the gray surroundings.

IX. Dress Nicely

Make the experience special: Always dress better than your audience, have your shoes shined, your hair cut and your best foot forward. Show that you care about being on stage and make the day memorable.

X. Follow Up

Leave behind a paper handout or-better yet-a web page link so that attendees can contact you afterward. Make the link live so that there's a reason for attendees to click back again. A successful presentation is only the beginning of your relationship with the audience.

More bon mots from Jack:

1. The best conferences are educational, impartial, relevant and credible.

2. Conferences are a validation for who's real and who's not (on the exhibit floor).

3. A great conference must be created by experts in that business, not by clerks.

4. Your conference must also present conflicting or unpopular opinions; the content must represent the entire industry.

5. Make sure presenters know what they're talking about in a deep and important way. Ideally, use those who invented the subject or who have written a book about it.

6. Finally, good session descriptions, catchy titles, superstar presenters and the promise of no sales pitches fills the room.

Jack Powers, President of International Informatics Institute, is Conference Director for the Internet World shows. He can be contacted at his web site: