TooMuchNoiseI make a point of visiting an exhibition at least once a month as it keeps me up to date with all the developments in different industries but more importantly allows me to keep a subjective overview on all the latest exhibition and exhibitor trends.

The choice of exhibition I visit is completely random. There is no methodical system behind the decision. Sometimes I visit huge consumer shows with the big showcase brands selling their wares on their slick space-only stands whilst other times I visit smaller, more intimate trade shows which has a very niche exhibitor and visitor base. And, of course, I will visit all types and sizes of exhibition between those extremes.

One of my areas of focus at the moment is the sheer amount of stimuli and noise that an exhibition hall typically holds. Everybody deems it as a good thing and they are not necessarily wrong. However, noise pollution, along with light and air pollution, is often referenced as one of modern society’s plagues.

As someone who can rarely walk down the street without my earphones tuned into music or a podcast I don’t buy the plague line. I feel that the majority of modern day noise pollution is self inflicted and a personal choice through the endless media and communication devices we all own. But noise can be more than decibels and sounds.

A few weeks ago I visited a mid-range trade show and as soon as I walked through the entrance I was hit by a wall of ‘exhibitor noise’ .

Literally, before my first foot had planted in the hall, leaflets and brochures were being thrust in my hand, strangers scanning my badge to win competitions and people breaking their necks to get eye contact with me. It’s buzzy right? You know the sensory power of face-to-face marketing.

Thing is, there was no method, it was just noise. It seemed that the exhibitors were all in a mad rush to activate and engage visitors for the betterment of their business but actually it was just noise that makes a visitor zone out. You see, there is a difference between noise and signals. And it is the smart exhibitor who sends out signals to engage and activate the right visitor, prospect and customer.

Signals cut through noise with their simplicity in messaging, channel selection and confidence in display.

The smart exhibitor has already signaled to their gold standard visitors’ weeks before the show opened and that’s why visitors invariably walk past and opt out of this exhibitor noise.


Jim-Curry-resizeGuest post by Jim Curry, out-going deputy director of the Association Event Organisers (AEO). This article was first published on LinkedIn.

Jim is heading up a new company, Exhibitor Smarts, which is a specialist exhibitor agency working alongside some of the UK’s leading organisers to improve exhibitor engagement and performance.

Follow the AEO on Twitter @aeonews and watch out for updates from Exhibitor Smarts.