If you stopped a visitor on the way out of your booth and asked her to rank the experience she just had in your booth against others at the show, what do you think she’d say? The laws of probability dictate that most booths will get ranked in the middle of the infamous bell curve. What you politely might describe as “mediocrity.”

Tradeshow Audience Empathy

You don’t want to be there. So what’s the best way to prevent it? Work on your “audience empathy.” This means gaining a clear understanding of:

  • What exactly your visitors want when they come to your booth
  • What they don’t want – what they want to avoid
  • What could make the experience your booth offers more fun, memorable, even surprising for this group of people

Developing real empathy isn’t easy. Surveying audience members is one way to go, but it’s not always practical. So at a minimum, before you make stuff (e.g., graphics, videos) or plan an activity (e.g., a presentation, a social sharing program, a promotion) ask yourself three questions:

  • Will it truly be helpful to my visitors – meaning focused on solving their problems or teaching them something they should know?
  • Will they enjoy the experience – and not be made uncomfortable – for instance, not get “fire-hosed” with information?
  • Will it be something they would encourage someone else to experience?

If you ever answer “no”, reconsider your plan.