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How often do you exercise your exhibiting muscles? Do you have a regular workout designed to increase your tradeshow dexterity and boost your results? Whether you’re looking for strength training to increase your competitive edge, flexibility to improve your marketing strategy, or just general overall fitness, a regular conditioning workout program is a must.

Before beginning an exercise program, take time to think about the results you’d like to achieve, so that you can gear your workout strategy toward attaining your desired outcome. Take time to assess why you participate in tradeshows. If you go because you’ve always gone, because the competition is going, or because you’d be conspicuous by your absence, a fitness program will propel you to new heights and increase your marketing longevity. The purpose of a regular exhibiting workout program is to revitalize, invigorate and rejuvenate your exhibit marketing strategy. However, realize that the toughest part of this program is usually getting started, and having the discipline to make your exercise routine a regular part of your exhibit marketing strategy.

The following is a general fitness level guide to help you determine what type of exercise you should do and the intensity level. Whether you want to build marketing muscle, or just firm up/tone determine the intensity that’s right for you. Each level incorporates a strength, an aerobic, and a flexibility component. All three will help you achieve your desired results.

Fitness Level 1 – You never or rarely stretch

This first level is geared for the low risk-taker who is in the habit of always doing the same thing at industry shows. To increase your level of flexibility in the marketplace, try stretching your exhibiting muscles prior to your next tradeshow. Be willing to take a risk and differentiate a little from your regular routine. Schedule a warm-up session with your exhibit marketing team several months prior to your next show.

Strength component: Define exactly why you are exhibiting and what it is that you want to achieve through your tradeshow participation.

Aerobic component: Brainstorm possible ideas and generally get your major muscle groups working in a rhythmic fashion. Consider giving your booth a facelift, with some new and exciting graphics. If you don’t have a new product or service to display, emphasize and/or educate your target audience about a benefit that normally gets forgotten.

Flexibility component: Try using a theme to add some new blood to your tradeshow muscles to help attract more activity into your exhibit.

Using this gentle routine regularly before each show will help increase a sense of accomplishment and well-being, as well as decrease the risk of painful unproductive results.

Fitness Level 2 – You occasionally stretch most of the major muscle groups

This level is designed for exhibitors who want more of a challenging exhibiting workout to increase their market strength and flexibility. As with level one, make sure that you devote time prior to each show with a thorough warm up – planning your tradeshow strategy.

Strength component: Building strength in your major muscle groups involves weight training and cardiovascular work. You know you are making headway when upper management supports your program. This means that you fully understand their corporate goals and objectives and can integrate them into your exhibit marketing strategy.

Aerobic component: The goal is to get your heart rate into the target zone and sustain that pace for an extended period of time. This means that you need to direct your pre-show promotional workout to those people who you really want to actively walk into your exhibit, find out more about you and do business with you. Think in terms of multiple, distinctive promotional programs directed at the various target groups.

Flexibility component: An exhibiting company’s range of motion will vary depending on its age, activity and structure. Good news is that your degree of flexibility can always be increased. Take time to find out what your prospects want and like so that you can tailor your marketing activity accordingly.

Fitness Level 3 – You always stretch the major muscle groups

This level is designed for the serious exhibitor who wants to build marketing endurance, strength and muscle tone.

Strength component: Your people make up the strength and backbone of your exhibiting presence. They represent everything your company stands for, so select the best. Prepare them well beforehand. Make sure that they sell instead of tell; don’t try to do too much; understand visitor needs; don’t spend too much time; and know how to close the interaction with a commitment to follow-up.

Aerobic component: Public relations is one of the most successful ways for pumping blood into your tradeshow activity. Build media relations, prepare press kits, investigate speaking opportunities and consider sponsorship opportunities

Flexibility component: Reduce the possibility of sales injury and market muscle soreness with a flexible and timely lead-management plan. Make your sales representatives accountable for leads given to them, and then measure your results.


No matter what your fitness level is or what your exhibiting goals, your company will look and feel better when you regularly participate in an exhibiting workout program. To be successful, you must incorporate it into your daily marketing strategy.

Written by Susan A. Friedmann,CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, Lake Placid, NY, author: "Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies," working with companies to improve their meeting and event success through coaching, consulting and training. Go to to sign up for a free copy of ExhibitSmart Tips of the Week.

This Marketing article was written by Susan Friedman on 4/4/2005

Susan A. Friedmann,CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, Lake Placid, NY, author:
“Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies,” working with companies to improve their
meeting and event success through coaching, consulting and training.