Great Trade Show Display Ideas from the Past

hybrid island trade show display with fabric panels and meeting area-resized-600

VK-5093 Hybrid Island with product shelves and private meeting area. Reconfigures into 10×10, 10×20, 20×20 shapes.

The truly great trade show display ideas come from techniques as old as public displays themselves. As far back as the Middle Ages, vendors used to have public booths and street fairs, somewhat like the Farmer’s Market is today.

In those markets, they did the very same thing that trade shows do, which is to display and advertise the items you needed to sell to make a decent living. The difference between then and today is that they understood the importance of street theater, and many in modern society have lost sight of that tool.

The whole idea of public performance was lost shortly after Shakespeare’s time, when theater went indoors and the idea of selling your wares became more privatized. The great secret? You can tap into the invitational spectacle of a public show without raising your voice. Street mimes are a great example of how effectively you can draw attention without even making a sound.

You still need to craft great looking trade show displays and graphics as usual to entice your customers, but on a tough trade show floor – the high profile shows of the year – you may find that even the best trade show display ideas are surrounded by many other good displays, and that it’s a lot harder to stand out from the pack.

If your trade show planning seems to have stalled, and you’re struggling to find great marketing ideas, remember that nothing invites customers more than a public performance. That performance is represented in modern society by the television screen. Some booths hire jugglers, magicians or mimes, to draw traffic. However, creating a great PowerPoint demonstration or video presentation can be a great, low cost and yet theatrical event that will help draw clients at a trade show.

Simply start the presentation when a few customers are nearby. The presentation doesn’t need to be longer than five minutes in length. Let the images and the script reinforce what you have to say, and watch the new clients gather to listen. The combination of the visual spectacle of the PowerPoint, as well as the delivery by a skilled trade representative, does the gathering for you. Within a few minutes, clients are finding themselves drawn to your PowerPoint lecture – and interested in your product.

Here are a few things to remember – and mistakes to avoid – if you choose to make a Power Play with PowerPoint:

  • Don’t project: This goes with the projection of your voice in presenting the PowerPoint, and the projection of the visual onto a blank surface. It takes too much time to set up, and it looks cheap to the casual observer. Let the gathering of customers attract more customers.
  • Don’t just use a laptop: While you may create the PowerPoint on your laptop, don’t relegate it to the small screen of your computer. It’s not obvious enough, and it forces customers to strain themselves in order to catch the presentation.
  • Do get an LCD display: Presenting the PowerPoint on a big screen televisual unit will gather people, and it will look the best on this particular type of device. You can purchase one if you have the budget, or can you rent one for big trade show events.


It’s almost like the town crier calling out “Hear ye, hear ye!” in the town square – everybody immediately pays attention. But using a PowerPoint or other video presentation eliminates the need to raise your voice to a yell. The visuals sell your message and you deliver the product information without breaking a sweat. Watch the potential clients congregate to your trade show booth as you make a Power Play through your PowerPoint!

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