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Ep 095 – 7 Tips to Reduce Show Planning Overwhelm

If you are an exhibitor at trade shows and events, this episode is just for you! And I’m specifically talking to those of you getting ready to plan for your first live event in the past 12-18 months or more. I am going to share with you 7 tips to help take the overwhelm out of your trade show and event planning! 

1.     Dedicate a block of time to get it done. These shows are complex and have a million details. If you try to just do a little here and there, you will constantly be spending time trying to figure out what’s been done. So block out an hour or two, get focused, and go through everything. 

2.     Simplify. Don’t go into this next show like shows you did prior to Covid when you were in your groove. Reuse display pieces, reduce the marketing pieces you are sending, pre-schedule your social posts, and take some of the workload and complexity off your plate.

3.     Double check your deadlines and prioritize. Understand all the important dates you need to get things done, and get them on your calendar. Clarity and planning will give you some peace. Also If you have multiple shows coming up like in the fall, the soonest on the calendar doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be done first. There may be sooner deadlines coming up for your later shows!

4.     Create a checklist of everything you need for events, then pull it up for your next show. This will save time and stress as everything will be there on one page. Just document your processes as you go. Now this will be more helpful with future events rather than just your next one, so a good suggestion for right now is to…

a.     Or find a checklist online. There are several out there available. All are different. See if there is one specific to your industry. At very least it’s a great starting point. Then customize it for your business!

5.     Don’t recreate the wheel! Unless you have had some major changes, reuse your banners, backdrops, display pieces, and even marketing materials. Also Pull up old paperwork and documents to help you figure out how you completed the paperwork in the past, what type of electrical or internet you ordered, how many people you registered, and any other details. 

6.     Delegate! Figure out all that needs to get done and then divvy up responsibilities. If its only you in your company, then look into reaching out to a local college to get a marketing intern to help out with some of these tasks! 

7.     Give yourself peace of mind. I have looked over paperwork dozens of times convinced I had everything covered only to find out I missed some little detail (or big detail). Contact the show producer and schedule a call with them to go over everything you are submitting. They will help ensure you have all your details handled. Then you can breathe!


For Small B2B Exhibitors!! Would you like to get my take on your plans?

I’d like to invite you to jump on a free 20-minute call to discuss what you have and help take away some of the overwhelm! Just go to or send an email to me and put free call in the subject line! 

SPECIAL OFFER!! The first 3 businesses that reach out to schedule their call, I’ll also include a hardcover copy of John Lee Dumas’ new book The Common Path to Uncommon Success! Shipped right to your door! 


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About the author, Jim

Jim Cermak has over 30 years of exhibiting, planning and working trade shows. As a Professional Trainer, he helps companies transform their results at trade shows, expos, events and conferences.

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